Every podcast needs an RSS feed that describes the podcast and its ‘enclosures’ (audio or video files). The feed is actually just a simple file in XML format, but this can be quite difficult to edit and set up and will require someone with specialist knowledge or a software tool to do this easily.
Thankfully, there is an easier way to create a feed.
Most blogging systems provide RSS (or Atom) feeds of their posts so that people can ‘subscribe’ and get the latest posts each time the author makes a new entry. Happily, this works for podcasts too. What you’ll need to make this work for you is:
- Online storeage for your audio (MP3) or video (MP4) files.
- A blog – either your own hosted blog, or an online version like Blogger.com.
Online storage is the main hurdle to overcome. You will probably have 1GB or so “webspace” provided by your ISP, or you can purchase a hosting package that gives you a specified amout of storage for your domain. What you need is an address on the Internet that lets you upload your MP3 files and subsequently download them using nothing more than a simple http:// link. For example, one of our sermons has the following address:
This is stored on our hosted webspace that is related to our domain “lansdownebaptistchurch.org.uk”. How much storage you have, and how large your individual files are will dictate how many podcast episodes you can keep in your feed. Typically, we keep around one year’s worth of messages.
The blog step is much easier to overcome and is as simple as setting up a blog with, for example, Blogger.com. This will be the method that you will use to create the details for each episode of the podcast. Lansdowne uses this blog for their audio podcast: http://lansdownepodcast.blogspot.com
As you can see, each entry consists of simply a title and some content that links to the MP3 file. This is all that is needed to create the RSS feed for the podcast (see the footer at the very end of the Blog page for the RSS feed link).
iTunes will accept the feed URL of the blog as a valid feed and within hours of registering with iTunes your podcast will be live.
You may wish to consider using http://feedburner.google.com which you can use to provide statistics for your feeds. In this case, you give Feedburner your Blogger RSS feed address, and publish the Feedburner address to your listeners (and iTunes).
As usual, any questions, please use the comments below.