I launched three podcasts this week. I'm not bragging, I'm confessing. When choosing a Host, it's important to know what your needs are before you choose one. How much work are you willing to commit to getting your podcast out to the world.
You can help yourself get found by keeping the metatags in mind. This is how you save your final product's file. Name the show something that will make sense to the world, not just to you. Go into your ID3 tags for the file and add important information like:
Title: Make sure your title is catchy and descriptive, but not too long and describes the episode in such a way that another podcast couldn't possibly have the same name.
Author: This item could also be called artist or host. It could be your name, the name of your company, or a brand.
Description: You've already mentioned your title and host or author, so don't worry about naming these in the description. Again, keep it short but do use keywords.
Categories: Categories vary from host to host, but you'll want to peg 2-3 categories that describe your audience's interests.
Artwork or Pictures: Attach artwork for an individual episode if you have one. Otherwise, your host is going to go with original show artwork.
Episode number: If your podcast is meant to be listened to in some kind of order, you'll want to use this field. If you want to be able to point people in the direction of a specific episode, numbers are handy.
Explicit: You don't have to warn people about language used in your show, but audiences do appreciate it. If you cuss, here is where you can use either the movie ratings system or just a brief indicator.
Name your show, you'll need a short description for your show.
You'll need to prepare show notes for the specific episode that you are uploading. You can add links to your website or sources, or email addresses in the show notes. Use keywords in this description.
I prefer to get started with a trailer since the timing of where your podcast debuts on each of the different platforms can vary greatly. When you are starting out, be aware that you are starting out with zero audience. Unless you are already a celebrity, even your family and friends are not going to chart your podcast. There's no reason to set a date and time that your podcast is going to debut. Planning out when to release new episodes could be something to think about in the future. Right now though, it really doesn't matter. Just get it out there!
But hang on, picking a host can be tricky because you may not really know what your needs are specific to seeking out the best host for your needs. I'll start with Podbean because that's where I started. I was of the opinion that there wasn't going to be much of a difference between Podbean, libsyn, Buzzsprout, Captivate, Anchor and I can find a new podcast host every day. There are a lot of them. Most of the established hosts have a package for the average needs of a podcaster for about $20 - $30 a month. I thought I would buck up with Podbean's annual fee since that saves you a bit of money with their unlimited plus package which includes . . . unlimited audio. I knew I'd be launching several podcasts so that was my deciding factor. It turns out that is just per podcast. I would need the business package for multiple podcasts. I can't afford the business package. It would be cheaper for me to go to another host. (Podbean's customer service let me down) It turns out that there are several hosting services where you can upload as many podcasts as you want so I'm not sure the reasoning behind Podbean's lack of access. There are several free hosting sites but they have very limited bandwidth capacities. Some hosts offer packages based on downloads which I think is weird because I've never downloaded a podcast in my life. I always stream podcasts and I think most everybody else does too. You are usually better off purchasing a monthly plan, that won't have you worrying about how much storage is available.
My client wanted to use libsyn so we signed her show up with them. It works almost exactly like Podbean but I thought libsyn was less user friendly than Podbean. You need to be sure to click on every single setting on many different pages to complete what seems to be the same information over and over again. I can see where an important element might fall through the cracks because I didn't notice there was a whole nother page to complete. Podbean has most of all of their settings all in one place. In the meantime, I heard that transistor.fm allows for multiple podcasts in their starter podcasters package, so I signed up my other two podcasts through them. There are varying amounts of work to do after you set up the initial features of your show in order to get your podcast to different podcasting platforms. Podbean made it fairly simple to get on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and the rest of them, but you still need to be sure to follow the instructions for each platform which seem to be a little bit different from each other. I understand that Anchor is automatically set up with Spotify as are most of these hosts, but you do have to do the extra work to get your podcast out to everywhere else. Be prepared for minutes, to days, or even weeks to be accepted by all of them. This is why it is good to kick off everything with a 1-5 minute trailer about your podcast. I'll blog about trailers someday soon. They are very similar to radio commercials.
Once you've gotten your trailer or first episode lifted off, there isn't much to do except monitor those platforms from time to time as I do see complaints, especially with Apple, that the RSS feed isn't updating. This is one of the times when the need for good customer service is something you want. I'm not thrilled with Podbean's customer service and I'm probably over-impressed with transistor.fm's customer service.
I want to list out and give you some shortcuts to all of the podcasting directories that I've found. I see many articles about platforms that list some of these, but there always seems to be more that they left out. Again, this is after you've selected your host and uploaded your show to be paired with an RSS feed. All you do in most of these directories is provide the RSS feed.
I Heart Radio (your show has to be at least 2 months old before they will add it here)
Radio.com (mobile app)
Spreaker (Spreaker is a directory and a hosting site and apparently, so much more. To be listed here, Spreaker will modify your rss feed, so be careful when linking to it. It looks to be free. I'm still trying to find the "catch")
ww.addmypodcast.com is free and uploads your show to these international directories:
The Podcast Index
There are more of these directories every single day, so I'll try to keep this list updated as I find more. The good news is once you've added your podcast to a directory, your RSS feed will take care of the rest, so most of the work is just in launching your show. What are you waiting for? Let's Podcast!