Reaching A Large Target Audience Quickly and Easily
By Zoe Robinson
Listing a podcast on iTunes opens up a large target audience but the submission process can be tricky. This guide leads the way through this potential minefield.
The majority of successful podcasts are listed on iTunes, where they are sorted by topic and made available to millions of listeners at the touch of a button. Getting a podcast listed on iTunes can appear difficult at first, but with the right guide, the application process is simple.
What is needed?
To get a podcast listed on the iTunes Store, several things must be in place. First of all, the podcast must be available in one of the recognised formats: mp3, m4a, mp4, mov, m4v and, oddly enough, pdf. Although iTunes and iPods can handle each of these formats, it is generally recommended that mp3 format be used for podcasts, or mov format for video podcasts, in order to ensure maximum compatibility with non-Apple devices; as not everyone uses an iPod or iPhone to listen to podcasts.
Secondly, the podcast must be syndicated by an RSS feed that conforms to RSS 2.0 standards, so iTunes can understand what is being sent to it. The easiest way to ensure an RSS feed conforms to RSS 2.0 standards is to pipe it through Feedburner, which is iTunes compatible. If the podcast is not already using Feedburner for its RSS feed, visit the Feedburner website and follow the three simple steps to create a new RSS feed. This need not replace the current feed on the blog or website being used for the podcast, but it will ensure a compatible URL is available for iTunes to check.
How to Submit a Podcast
Podcast submissions are handled from within iTunes itself. Open iTunes and select the iTunes Store, then click on the Podcasts option from the menu along the top of the store. Scroll down past the Staff Favourites and click on the “Submit a Podcast” button. Enter the URL of the podcast’s RSS feed into the box provided and click on the Continue button.
Selecting Podcast Categories
Itunes will then ask for two categories that describe the content of the podcast. Select the category that best describes what the podcast is about, then the second best description. If the RSS feed does not already contain tags, iTunes will ask what language the podcast is in and whether to tag it as “explicit”. If the podcast contains content that is unsafe for children or people listening in the workplace, select the explicit tag.
Click on the Continue button and the podcast will be submitted to iTunes for approval. The approval process can take anything from a few days to over a week, depending on the number of podcasts being submitted at the same time. If it is approved, the podcast can also take several days to actually show up in the iTunes Store. Again, this depends on the level of podcast activity and how often iTunes checks for updates on the RSS feed.
There are no guarantees that Apple staff will accept a podcast even if it conforms to all the technical standards required for a successful submission. Sometimes the content of the podcast will be incompatible with the iTunes terms of service, or there could be a number of other reasons. However, following this guide will make the submission process easier and remove the potential for a submission to be rejected on technical grounds.
Written by Zoe Robinson for Suite 101