Process For Setting Up a New Podcast

Setting up a new podcast, whether it is audio or video, requires quite a few steps.  There are a variety of tools involved, and options to be configured.  The sequence of steps is very important as well.

Here is the procedure I (Brian Casel, @CasJam) use when starting a new podcast.

My goals are:

  • To have both an audio and video podcast feeds
  • Use WordPress to publish new podcast episodes
  • Get my podcast listed in the iTunes podcast directory
  • Get it on YouTube (for maximum exposure)
  • Track how many people listen, watch, and download my podcast

Have questions or comments?  

Tweet me @CasJam or contact me here.
  1. Produce and export your first podcast episode as an mp4

    Use whatever video editing program you prefer.  My editor of choice is ScreenFlow (Mac only).

    Export your video as an mp4 file set to the highest resolution.
  2. Install the PowerPress BluBrry WordPress Plugin

    This is the plugin that will allow us to publish podcast episodes on our WordPress blog.  You can find the PowerPress BluBrry plugin in the WordPress plugin repository here.

    Or simply search for "PowerPress"

    Once installed, activate it.
  3. Convert the mp4 to mp3 using Audacity

    There are lots of tools out there that can do this, but the one I prefer is Audacity (free, Mac & PC).

    1. Open your mp4 file in Audacity
    2. Adjust the "Project Rate (Hz)" to 22050
    3. Go to File > Export
    4. Format:  Choose "MP3 Files"
    5. Click "Save"
    6. Enter the meta data (see screenshot below for what to put here)
    7. Click "OK" to begin the export process.
  4. Configure PowerPress Settings

    Here are the settings that I use:

    Under Advanced Options:  Check the box for "Custom Podcast Channels".  This will allow you to have both an audio and video podcast feed.

    Basic Settings: unchanged.

    Services & Stats:  unchanged.

    Media Appearance:  Select "Disable PowerPress Media Player" (I'll add my own player later)

    Feeds:  Select "Do not enhance feed"

    iTunes:  Nothing to do here.  We'll use Feedburner later to setup our iTunes info.
  5. Upload your episode media files to a server

    It's probably best to use Amazon S3 for hosting your media files to ensure fast/reliable downloads of your podcasts.  But when just starting out, I think uploading them to your website hosting server works fine.

    Create a folder where you will upload all of your episode media files (mp3s and mp4s).

    Upload your first episodes files there.
  6. Create your podcast artwork in Photoshop

    iTunes requires a 1400 x 1400 pixel image to represent your podcast in the iTunes store directory.  Create this in Photoshop (or your app of choice) and upload to your web server.
  7. Upload your first podcast episode video to YouTube

    You might want to create a new YouTube account / channel for your new podcast.

    Upload your first episode's mp4 video file to YouTube.

    While it's uploading, enter the following information (optimize your keywords for search):

    • Title
    • Description (I like to include the URL to the blog post for this episode here, along with the description of the episode).
    • Tags (keywords)
    • Category
  8. Create 2 Podcast Channels

    If you want to have both an audio version and a video version of your podcast, you'll want to create 2 "Podcast Channels".

    In WordPress, go to PowerPress > Podcast Channels.

    First, edit the default channel.  This channel will be your Video podcast feed.  Give it an appropriate name, description, and landing page URL.

    Then, create a 2nd channel.  This channel will be your Audio podcast feed.  You should probably give it the same name as the first channel, but add (audio) at the end.  For example:
    Restaurant Engine Podcast (audio)
  9. Create a new blog post in WordPress

    This post will be your first podcast episode.

    Give it a title and description (you might use the same description that you entered in YouTube).  You will also add your "show notes" here.

    Categorize your blog post accordingly (if you mix your podcast posts with regular blog posts, you might want to create a category called "Podcast" or something).

    Save the post as a draft (you're not ready to publish quite yet)...
  10. Add the Media URLs

    Scroll down on the Edit Post screen and find the two boxes representing each of your two Podcast Channels (audio and video).

    Enter the file URL for your mp3 audio file in the box labeled "Media URL" for the audio version.

    Enter the file URL for your mp4 video file in the box labeled "Media URL" for the video version.

    Click "Verify" to ensure those file paths were entered correctly.  Powerpress will also check your media files to make sure they are produced/formatted correctly (if they're not, it will tell you why).
  11. Add the YouTube video player to the blog post

    Simply paste the URL of the YouTube video in the body of your post, and WordPress will automatically display the video player.
  12. Add an MP3 Audio link to the blog post

    Below the video, you'll want to provide a way for visitors to download or listen to the podcast episode audio (some people prefer to listen instead of watch).

    Simply create a link pointing to the MP3 audio file.

    You might want to try using a plugin to add an audio player to WordPress.  However, I'm not doing that, because word on the street is audio players are coming to WordPress core when version 3.6 is released.  A simple link to the MP3 file will work fine until the new WordPress audio player becomes available.
  13. Publish the blog post

    Click "Publish" and your first podcast episode is officially live!

    But we're not done yet... 
  14. "Burn" your podcast feeds using FeedBurner

    Now that we've published at least 1 post for our podcast, we our podcast RSS feeds are now considered "valid".

    We can take our podcast feeds and "burn" them in Feedburner.  We do this for 2 reasons:
    • Feedburner will make it easy to track how many people download and listen/watch our podcast
    • Feedburner makes it easy to format our feeds for submission to the iTunes directory
    First, in WordPress, go to PowerPress > Settings > Feeds.  Find your Podcast feeds.  If you're using 2 channels (audio and video), you will see 2 feeds here.

    Copy one of the feeds and paste it in Feedburner.  Check the box for "I am a podcaster!".  Click Next.

    You will come back to this step and repeat for the 2nd feed.

  15. Configure "SmartCast" settings in FeedBurner

    For each of your two feeds, you will want to configure the "SmartCast" settings.  This is where you're setting the podcast meta data that will show up in iTunes.

    Podcast Title:  Title of your podcast (the show, not an individual episode).
    Category & Subcategory
    Podcast Image:  This is your 1400x1400 pixel podcast image.  Click preview to make sure you have the file path entered correctly.
    Subtitle:  A short description of the podcast.
    Summary:  Longer description of the podcast.
    Search Keywords
    Author email address:  You'll get notified when the show is accepted to iTunes.

    Repeat this step for your 2nd feed.
  16. Submit your podcast feed(s) to iTunes

    To find the link to where you need to submit your podcast in iTunes, go to PowerPress > Settings > iTunes.  That link will launch iTunes.

    Enter your first (of 2, if you have both an audio and video feed) Feedburner feed in the box and click "Continue".

    It will then show you a confirmation screen, where you should see your artwork thumbnail and all of the podcast info you had entered in Feedburner.  Make sure all of this is correct!  Otherwise it will be incorrectly submitted to iTunes, and difficult to fix later.

    If correct, click to confirm.  Then repeat for your 2nd Feedburner feed.

    Your podcast will now go into review at Apple.  You will receive an email once it has been approved and added to the iTunes directory (this usually takes 1 day). 
  17. Confirm your podcast is listed in iTunes

    Search iTunes for the name of your podcast.  Within a day or two, your podcast should show up in search results.
  18. All set!

    You now have a podcast fully up and running!  Now go record your episodes and make them good!

    Track your stats using Feedburner and build your audience through your blog, YouTube, and iTunes!