How to Submit your Podcast to the iTunes Store
Before you submit your podcast to the iTunes Directory, you need to know what their review staff is looking for. Part of successful podcast submission consists of striving to meet these criteria as closely as possible. Your aim is to be featured in “New & Noteworthy” for your category or even in “New & Noteworthy” on the iTunes general home page.
To do this, however, your podcast needs to not only prove it is “breaking new ground” with “new or unusual content”, it has to first:
- Stand out
- Capture the reviewer’s interest
So before we get into the mechanics of uploading, let’s quickly make sure we meet these criteria. (Create a checklist, if this is the first time you are uploading, and use it every time you upload later podcasts.)
What this will do, in addition to getting you noticed by review staff and boosting your chances of landing a “New & Noteworthy” spot, is make your podcast much more searchable and easily found by your ideal listener.
Step 1. Make Sure You’re Ready
Remember that you can’t host your podcast on iTunes. You have to:
- Register a domain for your podcast blog, where you will host your podcasts (e.g. “TheWilyTracker.com”)
- Choose web hosting that is up to hosting podcasts, with adequate bandwidth (at least 1gb.) and byte-range support.
While hosting your domain on your own site is generally considered best, you might also consider a webhost that specializes in podcasts, like Libsyn. It is a syndicated podcasting network, rather than a true webhost – but you can purchase and use your own domain name. And their array of tools, apps and services simplifies the whole podcasting process.
- Install and set up your blog. This is where you’ll host your show notes and talk about your podcasts.
- Create an RSS feed. You can’t do it from iTunes, but there are many feed generators and reliable services you can use to create your RSS feed, such as the generator provided by Feedity, which has gathered consistently positive reviews.
Feedity offers a bookmarklet and a widget to display your feeds on your website, RSS button and its pricing plans start at $6.00 per month for twenty feeds.
- Test your feed – you can do this at Feedvalidator.org, but we’ll test it again when we actually upload to iTunes.
Step 2. Optimize and Check Your Content
Make sure you have maximized each element, targeting each to your audience as closely as possible.
1. Your Podcast Title
Make it short, catchy and something you would want to download. Include keywords.
2. Your Name and job title
If you are branding yourself, this is essential. You want your name to be searchable and you can add other tags describing what you do (e.g. Social Media Coach, blogger, entrepreneur).
3. Your Description
This is where you tell your listeners:
- What your podcast is all about
- What it can do for them if they download and listen right now
You have up to 4,000 characters to do it in – but try to keep it as short as possible. Remember, people will be “scanning” – glancing over your description for, literally, key words and phrases that might catch their attention.
Too much prose detracts from your message, so cut out all unnecessary adverbs, adjectives and sentences. Focus only on what your listeners will want to hear. Don’t clutter your description – but do your best to make it lively, personal, active and catchy.
Remember also that your casual searcher will only see the first five lines of your description. Even though they have the option of pressing the “More” anchor text, that’s an extra step you’re making them take. Do you r best to say what you need your ideal listener to read in those first few lines.
If you have a special guest, include your guest’s name and keywords.
- Ask for a review
- Ask people to download your podcast and subscribe to your feed
- Remind them they can head over to your blog (include your blog URL) and leave feedback after your podcast
(Note that you need a separate description for every episode.)
- 4. Your Podcast Subtitle
Sometimes you may be asked to input this when you upload to iTunes. It should be the same as the short description you put in your ID3 “Comment” field.
Think of it more as a descriptive tagline, and you’ll be able to write one or two lines that more than adequately fulfills this purpose.
5. Your Cover Photo
You will need two versions of this in separate files:
- 1,400 X 1,400 pixels
- 300 X 300 pixels
(The 300 X 300 pixel version is for your XML file.)
Before finalizing your podcast cover design, test-resize it to 150 X 150 pixels, then decide: What detail do you lose? What looks murky or indistinct? Can you still make out what each graphic element actually is? (Take out any detail that gets “lost” in small sizes. And do remember it will display in the iTunes store at 73 X 73 pixels.)
In your cover, be sure to include:
- Your Podcast name
- Your Logo or repetitive branding graphic
- Your Name