Publishing a Podcast

Publishing your podcast will vary slightly depending on which tools you use for blogging and where you host your audio files. At the most basic level you need enough storage space to host the podcast audio file, enough bandwidth to support the subscribers to your podcast, and an RSS 2.0 feed for people to subscribe to. Hosting options become complicated when you reach a large audience of subscribers. Most of the cheap Web hosting services aren’t designed to handle transfer of large files.

Before You Upload
One of the most important things to do prior to uploading your podcast is to edit the ID3 tags in the MP3 file to add identifying information. ID3 tags tell your media player and portable audio player things like artist, title of the track, and genre which listeners use to sort audio files.

Most music players, like Windows Media Player have built in tag editing. I personally like the shell extension AudioShell for editing MP3 files because I can right-click the file and quickly edit the Title, Artist, Album, Genre, Year and add comments about the file.

Some of the managed blog services, like Typepad, offer storage space and could be used for podcasting, but the amount of file transfer available quickly runs out with just a few subscribers to your podcast. Blogger offers free accounts but doesn’t currently support enclosing media files in a syndication format. If you have a hosting provider where you already upload audio and video files, you may be able to use FeedBurner to create the necessary RSS feed for distributing your podcast. FeedBurner is free and offers a simple wizard driven interface for generating the podcast feed.

Assuming you’ve never published a blog before and you don’t have a hosting provider, the most straightforward podcast setup can be accomplished for about $5 per month using Liberated Syndication. If you plan on making a long term investment in your podcast, finding a solution allowing you to have more control over the process is your best bet. In the meantime, Liberated Syndication can get you started for minimal cost.

Setting up an account with Liberated Syndication gives you the ability to post text just like you would on a normal blog. The account offers an interface for uploading audio files (or video). When you make a new post with a link to your podcast audio file, it automatically generates the necessary RSS feed for subscribers to get your podcast.

After creating an account with Liberated Syndication, login and configure the basic settings, publishing your first podcast is easy:

Click the podcast / blog tab, choose or create a category, title your post, add an image (if you want one), type a description for the podcast, upload the podcast file, and click the post button. When the uploading process is complete, your podcast will be live.

The page template is configurable, including being able to add Google Adsense and defining your own stylesheet. There’s also an option for creating quick posts that automatically generate a new post if you upload an audio file to the site.

Aside from logging into Google to generate some Adsense code, everything you see on that sample podcasting page was automatically generated, including the layout and the RSS feed.

There are other solutions for free, but using Liberated Syndication eliminates virtually all of the possible errors because you don’t have to type anything to generate the feed. I also handle all the podcast setup for The Chris Pirillo Show, which uses Movable Type to generate the RSS feed. More than once the audio file didn’t get enclosed properly due to a typo. With Liberated Syndication’s interface, typos are virtually impossible.