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Podcasting and Audio Storytelling

Save yourself hours of frustration and hassle with this guide for podcasts and other forms of audio storytelling

Hosting and Distribution

Once you've got a few episodes of your podcast recorded, edited, and ready for others to hear, it's time to think about hosting and distribution. Essentially, hosting and distribution is about figuring out where your podcast will live and determining the paths you will set up so your listeners can find and access it. You will need three elements to host and distribute your podcast, which are listed below.
 

Website 

A website will give people another way to discover and learn more about your podcast, listen to episodes online, and find direct links to subscribe on the most popular podcast platforms. If you are associated with the University of Michigan, you can create a simple free site with Google Sites. You can also create a custom domain name (“www.MyAwesomePodcast.com”) rather than the default “sites.google.com.” If you are working with a University entity, you could create a separate page on that entity’s homepage for your podcast. Finally, there are many website platforms that will help you design and host your website, including Squarespace, Wordpress, and Wix. Some of these offer free plans, but more extensive sites will require paid subscriptions. Keep in mind that if you stop paying for these sites, your content could be lost.

Hosting Platform

This platform will host the audio files and provide the necessary infrastructure for distributing your podcast. There are numerous services out there, many of which have the same basic functionality: Libsyn, Blubrry, Podbean, SoundCloud, and others. What these services will do for you, in addition to hosting your audio files, is create an RSS feed that you will submit to podcast platforms (see #3 below), so that people can discover and listen to your podcast. The platform will also create embeddable players that you can put on your website, so people can listen online. Finally, it will give you analytics information on who is listening to your podcast, the popularity of one episode vs. another, and other information to help you better understand your audience. Often times there is a cost to hosting your audio files, but Anchor (which is owned by Spotify) provides free hosting and integration with the major podcast distributors.

RSS Feed Distribution

Once you have uploaded your initial episodes to your hosting and distribution platform, you will need to submit your podcast’s RSS feed (generated by your hosting provider, see #2 above) to the four major podcasting distributors: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher. (There are others out there you could submit to, but these four account for the vast majority of podcast traffic.) You will have to sign up for accounts at all of these platforms in order to submit your feed for approval, and each will have instructions on format requirements, troubleshooting, and more. After receiving approval, all new episodes you upload will automatically be shared across them.

Once you have all three of these set up, you should be able to start growing your audience. If you have questions on any of these aspects, feel free to email shapirodesignlab@umich.edu and we can help you out. For more information on RSS feeds, different hosting platforms, and other details regarding the hosting and distribution process, Transom has an excellent guide