Guest post by Adam Hendricks.
So you’ve been thinking of starting a podcast and finally made it happen? Nice move! Once you have recorded, edited, and finalized everything (using a podcasting tool like Audacity, Zencastr, or Riverside.fm), it’s time to spread the life-changing audio programs to your audience.
While doing your own podcast hosting might seem like a good idea, it will prove a hard task in the long run. The problem is that generating an RSS feed requires technical skills. And not everyone can do this.
Still, if you feel that your ability is strong, go for it.
There is always another way apart from uploading it straight to a publisher like Apple Podcasts. Here’s what you need to know.
What is a Podcast Host?
A podcast host is a simply a medium between your audience and you. In a nutshell, it’s what your audience will use to listen to your podcast sessions.
Podcasts hosts let you upload your MP3s and store them in a cyber-storage platform. When someone wants to listen to the podcasts, he/she will either download or stream it live from the storage facility. The hosting takes care of everything with no additional effort from you.
To reach your audience, you will need:
An MP3 File: This is the format that you use to store each episode that you will upload into the host you have chosen.
RSS Feed: (It stands for Really Simple Syndication, on the off chance you didn’t know that). You submit your feed to directories like iTunes, Spotify, or Stitcher. Whenever you have released a new podcast, it goes directly to your subscribers’ podcast app.
There are dozens of podcast hosting platforms. It all depends on personal preference and price. You can research the best podcast hosting platform to get the right hosting that fits the bill.
Here are a few differentiators that will help you when researching.
1. Consider the Storage
Beginning podcasters can start posting 10-minute podcasts several times a month. It’s best to use free hosting at this stage while you’re building your audience.
Once things work out and your audience grows larger, you may want to move to hour-long podcasting sessions.
It’s at this stage that you need to get a host with huge storage. Ideally, a basic hosting plan can still work out.
2. Check out the Pricing
Podcast hosting is generally not expensive. Even the pricey ones never go above $20/month. Still, you need an option that has discounts and annual subscription options.
Also, consider the options with free trials. You get to “experience” the service before you fully dive in.
3. Investigate the Scalability
Your podcast has a future. It may start small, but you will surely scale high in the next few years or months with the right strategies.
The question is, will your chosen hosting provider scale with you?
It should handle your podcasts in terms of bandwidth, storage, and uptime. In addition, the host must not impose any upgrade fees in the future.
4. What are the Promotions and Marketing Features Available?
It’s one thing to start a podcast, but another to reach a huge audience. The host you choose should make it effortless for your audience to find you.
Most hosting sites have customized pages where users showcase their podcasts. That’s why it’s essential to evaluate how the host will allow you to market your podcasts. If it has all this, you are good to go.
5. Does the Host Alter Episode Files?
Some hosts will alter your files after uploading. For example, the platforms will change WAV files into MP3 files. If tags are missing in some of your data, the host will automatically add your title, author, and ID3 tags.
If you don’t want your files to be changed in any way, look for hosting sites that do not tamper with your original information.
Podcasts are a great way to put out high quality content without having the effort of writing it. You get to reach your audience quickly and trigger conversation, which is an easy way to build authority in your niche.
The whole process is long, but choosing a host is perhaps the most critical step you should start working on. If you get it right in this stage, then you’ve got your first win.
Adam Hendricks is the chief content marketer at Performance Funnels. With over 10 years of marketing experience, Adam helps businesses grow their online presence.