There was a time (not that long ago) when if someone mentioned “podcast distribution” or “podcast syndication” I stared blankly into the abyss. In other words, could not compute. 🤖
Podcast directories. RSS feeds. Syndi *gulp* cation. They all sounded like complex, intangible ideas.
But guess what? They’re not. If I could understand this stuff well enough to write about it, you’re as good as gold, my friend.
Here’s everything you’ll understand by the end of this post:
- How are Podcasts Distributed?
- What is RSS?
- What is Podcast Syndication?
- What is a Podcast Directory?
- How to Publish (Syndicate) a Podcast
- Which Podcast Directories Should You Publish To?
- Other Forms of Podcast Distribution
Time for some schoolin’. 😎
How are Podcasts Distributed?
Podcast distribution happens when you allow a listening app like Apple Podcasts or Spotify to share your podcast with a larger audience. Podcasts use RSS to automatically send out new episodes to podcast directories.
RSS is also used to update blog posts and news feeds. Historically (maybe not so historically for some), a user would use an RSS feed to automatically aggregate updates from sites they follow.
What is RSS?
RSS or Really Simple Syndication refers to .xml files which are easily read by a computer. These files automatically update information.
The updated info is fetched by a user’s RSS feed reader. It then converts the files into an easy-to-read format for humans.
Whatever type of content it is, RSS distributes it in real-time. So, almost as soon as you add a new episode to your hosting site, it’s updated in all directories you’ve syndicated to.
What is Podcast Syndication?
Syndication happens when someone else is allowed to display or broadcast your content to their audience. Podcast syndication is like when Spotify displays the show Stuff You Should Know. They don’t own the show — they just present it as an option to listeners.
Put a different way, it’s similar to TV syndication. A sitcom owned by NBC about people working in an office can be shown on TBS.
TBS doesn’t produce or own the show but they’ve been given the rights to broadcast it to their audience.
One podcast can be syndicated across multiple directories and any platform that allows audio content (blogs, web pages, etc.). No matter how many mediums you syndicate to, your hosting site is the original publishing spot.
It’s important to syndicate your show to popular podcast directories — that’s where your audience is.
What is a Podcast Directory?
A podcast directory is an app like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or Stitcher that people can use to listen to podcasts. Users can also discover new podcasts, download episodes, subscribe, and leave ratings or reviews.
Essentially, a podcast directory is a virtual library filled with, well, podcasts.
[READ: Unsure how all the changes happening in the podcast industry affect you? Here’s our take.]
How to Publish (Syndicate) a Podcast
Publishing your show to the major podcast directories is a step you want to get right. You want people to hear this thing, don’t ya?
Publishing to a Podcast Directory
Make sure you have an account with all of the directories you want to publish to.
The process for publishing to a podcast directory goes like this:
- Upload at least one episode to your hosting site. (We use Sounder.fm.)
- Submit your RSS feed URL. Don’t have an RSS feed? You can make one here.
- Wait for approval.
- Get approved and broadcast all over the world!
That’s the gist. ☝
But there are a few things to check off before you get approval.
You’ll find that each directory has its rules around things like formatting and troubleshooting. (However, Apple’s RSS feed requirements have for the most part become the norm.)
In addition to the RSS feed URL that your hosting service provides, here are the details you need to syndicate in most podcast directories:
- Show name
- Show subtitle (if applicable)
- Show description
- Cover art
- Copyright disclaimers
- Explicit rating (if applicable)
- Category tags
One thing to note is the size of your cover art — it should be 1400 x 1400 pixels at minimum, and 3000 x 3000 pixels at maximum.
Once you’ve met all the requirements and have been approved by the directory, the rest of your episodes will automatically syndicate. Yay!
Which Podcast Directories Should You Publish (Syndicate) To?
There are four main podcast directories your podcast should syndicate across:
- Apple Podcasts/iTunes
- Google Podcasts
These are the most popular podcast players with Apple and Spotify owning the majority of the market share.
[READ: Want to monetize your podcast? Here’s how to get started with Apple Podcasts Subscriptions]
Other directories include…
- iHeart Radio
Unless you have a really niche audience, you shouldn’t need to worry about publishing to these less popular players.
Other Forms of Podcast Distribution
The sky is the limit when it comes to podcast distribution. You can publish entire episodes and/or parts of episodes on nearly any social media platform. These are just a few:
If you record video along with audio, your first place to turn is YouTube.
YouTube is the best platform if you want to post a full-length episode. You can post an episode with an audiogram in place of video, but it won’t perform as well.
Also, make sure to put links to listen to your podcast in the description. Then, if they found you on YouTube, they know they can listen to your show on their favorite podcast player.
Some hosting sites offer integrations with YouTube so that your content easily syndicates.
Podcasts are great for repurposing into written content.
Write up a blog post and embed the episode. Even better: If you posted to YouTube, embed the video.
We 💗 LinkedIn in the B2B podcasting world. It’s done a ton to distribute B2B Growth to more fans.
While you can’t post full-length episodes on LinkedIn, you can publish micro-content. That includes…
- Text-only posts based on the episode
- Micro-videos, or snippets from the episode
- Carousels, or Documents
Pretty much anywhere your audience consumes audio or video content is a good place to distribute.
Keep in mind that you’ll probably be pointing people to a podcast directory to find your show (as opposed to your hosting site). So, if you could just syndicate to the top four podcast directories, that’d be greeaaaaat.
Go Forth & Distribute
Podcast distribution is just a fancy way of saying sharing your podcast on different channels.
It’s absolutely worth it to distribute your show across major podcast players. Because, well, it’s free. And that’s how people find you.
Don’t let fancy words get in the way of people hearing your fancy words.