Recently, there was a kerfuffle on a podcasters group over on Facebook. Basically it was a Podcast award announcement and a member of the group complained about having to have an RSS feed on their site to have a chance to win. That got the ball rolling and rolling it did. Lots of thoughts and opinions were tossed about, toes were stepped on, eyes gouged, at one time I think I saw Rick Flair body slamming someone. Got so bad that the original message was removed. Podcasters, yeah we are a little opinionated.
Yet, this is why looking to groups and online communities are great for finding topics for your particular show. Many times unexpected show ideas crop up much like this. The main topic of this discussion was why you should have a RSS feed on your front page of your site, or you even need a website for your podcast? Both of these tie into each other.
RSS feed in a nutshell is a special file created by your CMS that points news readers to the most current content on your site. This allows for your information to be syndicated to your readers of your blog and this same file format is what allows for podcatchers to see that you have put out a new show and retrieve the show and show notes. It looks like a mess if you try to look at an RSS feed in your browser, and that is because it wasn’t meant to be read by people.
Why Have The RSS Feed
If the file isn’t suppose to be seen by people then why do you want this on your site? Why not just give iTunes your feed and be done with it? This is the discussion. If you look at your statics. you see that the vast majority of your shows are downloaded by some type of Apple product. Be it an iPhone iPad or iPod there is some type of Apple Core Media or iTunes client grabbing your feed. That isn’t the largest mobile device out there. that belongs to Android operating system created and put out by Google. The Android devices out number iOS by a huge number, but only claim a quarter of the downloads of shows. I put a good portion of the blame for this on Google. Yes, they could make it easier for podcasts to be found, they are in the search business. Yet I also put some blame of the podcast producers who only think of iTunes.
There is more to the world than Apple products. I know. I am an Android user and I run into this very problems many times. I find a podcast I want to check out. I search Pocketcasts and pull up nothing. So I then do a search for the shows website. More often than not I find the site and then look for the RSS feed. If I am not able to find it then I go to the podcast page and look there for the RSS feed, and several times I still dont find it. This is where a critical decision is made, How badly do I want to hear this show? If I dont care that much , then my search ends there. If I want to listener to the show pretty badly then I will check to see if it is a WordPress site. When it is then I will try to get the feed by typing in domainname.com/feed/podcast or if that doesn’t work domainname.com/feed. If either of these paths dont work, then they do not want listeners that bad and I will just drop the search. I will go through a lot more work to get a show than your typical person. Most will stop if they can not find it on their Podcast manager search feature.
I have made it a mission that when I find a podcast I would like to listen too and there is no findable RSS feed to educate that person. I try to contact them. Let that show host know of us special cases. Many have responded some even didn’t realise there was a world outside of iTunes.
This isn’t the only reason either Window phone users their podcasts app actually uses BING and it will only pull up podcasts RSS feeds not the show. so you need to let Bing know how to find your RSS feeds too. RSS feeds are important, they may not look pleasing to you but there is a purpose to that file. In fact you don’t have a podcast unless you have an RSS Feed. So, have a link somewhere on your homepage the more prominent the better. IF for whatever reason you can’t have it there, then put it on your Podcast shows page.
I have heard why do you need to have a website for your show? Well in truth you don’t you can use what is automatically generated by your media host, and it works great especially if you are using a service like Libsyn They create an RSS feed for you automatically. But what do you tell your listeners? How do new people searching for your topic find you? They will find you, but you are not making it easy for them. You are relying on nothing more than word of mouth and happenstance. Where do you want your fans to go so that they are able to get your information? You going to use a Subdomain? that works it is a little more for your to remember. Is that tumblr with or without an ‘E’? Is it Blogger or Blogspot? So, make it easier at least get an address and own a little bit of your brand. You might be surprised as to how many people are actually looking for you.
There are Android users who consume podcasts be mindful of us we are trying to tell the world.