Learn to Podcast

The short story is: “Add a media file to a WordPress post in a category and make that available through iTunes.” Here’s what you’ll see in the iTunes application to submit your podcast when you’re ready.

The screen shot above is not from a web page. You have to navigate to it by first opening iTunes and then navigating to the store, which is where Apple wants everyone to be. Note that it may take time to get your submission approved and if they don’t approve your submission, don’t expect anyone at Apple to tell you why. One reason your podcast might not get approved is because someone suspects you’re not authorized to use copyrighted content in your podcast. Again, don’t expect to necessarily hear anything back from them. Do your homework to present your content in such a way that it should be obvious you’re not breaking copyright laws and then try submitting again.

WordPress supports podcasting out of the box

This article assumes you know how to record audio or video and save it in the best format for your needs. We’ll also focus on using WordPress to publish your podcast and iTunes as what your audience will want to subscribe to your podcast. Here is a link to some additional documentation for podcasting with WordPress.

Upload a media file

You can use an FTP program to upload to your server, but we recommend the easy to useĀ  “Media Library” in new versions of WordPress. Your web server may need to be configured to support the media content types, you’ll be using. If you’re adding an MP3 or an MP4, you probably don’t need to be concerned with various details at this point. Permissions need to be set properly in your WordPress installation for the Media Library functionality to be able to save files. In addition, the default on your server might limit file size to 2 MB, which can easily be changed by an administrator with access to your php.ini file and privileges to restart Apache. That pretty much sums up other things to check related to using the “Media Library.” Hopefully, someone already set up your WordPress installation to enable you to just “Add New” audio or video files. New developments like HTML5 may require adding new file types to your server configuration.

Create a special category in WordPress for your podcast

Remember that any post can be in one or more categories.

  1. Create a category in the Admin > Manage > Categories panel for your audio files and call it something like “podcasts”.
  2. Assign every post containing an audio link to your “podcasts” category.
  3. If your blog is at example.com, your podcast feed will automatically be available at:

Create your first episode

  1. Title your post with something short and descriptive that will make sense for an “episode title” in iTunes or when viewing on an iPod (Or other MP3 player).
  2. When writing text in your post, remember that the first words will show up in a text description in iTunes, but the rest gets cut off and most people will never see it. A few will look deeper. Those first few words need to make the user want to listen or watch.
  3. Add one media file to your post, whether it is audio or video. If you’re using a podcasting plugin, there will be a special field to enter the URL for the location of your media.

Using the Powerpress plugin from Blubrry

Full iTunes support is a good reason to consider downloading a free plugin like Powerpress. In addition, it offers an integrated media player with video embed support from sites such as YouTube and Ustream.tv. The producers of this plugin also offer inexpensive premium statistical services.

Once the plugin is installed and configured, go ahead and create a new blog post. A new widget titled ‘Podcast Episode’ will appear. Simply enter the complete URL of your Media, which you can get from navigating to a file you previously entered using the “Media Library.”

PowerPress includes options to add media embed codes (as pictured above) from sites such as YouTube, Blip.tv, UStream.tv, Viddler, etc.. as well as specific iTunes Summary, Subtitle, Keywords and Explicit values. These optional settings can be enabled in PowerPress Settings > Basic tab under the option labeled ‘Podcast Entry Box’.

Test your results

Create another identity for yourself, e.g. a [email protected] and pretend to be a user visiting your site and subscribing to your podcast. Check everything, including using a portable device like an iPod.

Use Feed Validator to test your work.

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