The Mechanics: Mic to Podcatcher

Starting with the assumption that you’ve registered your show with Apple Podcasts through Podcasts Connect and with Google through their Google Podcasts Manager. Those will be the subject of an upcoming episode.

This means your show is visible on the Apple Podcasts apps. And it will show up on all the other apps that draw from the Apple directory.

So you have a new episode ready to go. You upload it from your laptop to your host. Once this happens, your host alters your RSS feed. I’ve included a screenshot of part of an RSS feed over on the website: JM Podcasting Services. It’s written in .xml format and we are all very happy we don’t need to hand code these any more.

What happens is the RSS feed adds the new episode to the .xml file. This lets Apple know the new episode exists and where it is hosted. Apple does not host any audio files for your podcasts. See the post: Which Host and Why? to learn more about hosting.

The change in the RSS feed is noted by Apple and it pings this information out to all the podcatchers in your subscriber’s phones. Although Apple now calls subscribers “Followers” and have set up a paywall for subscribers but everyone else calls subscribers, subscribers. That aside. Apple’s work is finished for your new episode. Apple Podcasts is a library of RSS feeds associated with individual podcasts. They do not, as I said,  host your files. So even if you download an episode through Apple Podcasts, you are still downloading the audio file from the host, not Apple Podcasts.

From there your listeners’ podcatcher downloads your audio file from your host.

And that’s how your host is able to keep stats on downloads. There are exceptions to these stats. If you send a copy of your audio file to Youtube or Facebook, those listens will not be included in your host’s stats because YT and FB alters the file to their formats and breaks the connection with your RSS feed.

The other exception to this process is the way Google Podcasts finds your new episodes. Google, as they do, continually crawls the web with, naturally enough, their web crawlers looking for podcast RSS feeds. It then checks the validity of the feed and if it can play the latest episode. When that all checks out, Google indexes  the new episode, making it available on their Podcast app.

To summarise: you create an episode, you upload it to your host, your host updates your RSS feed, Apple spots this and notes it on the Apple Podcasts directory. Every other podcatcher, except Google, sees the change and downloads the new episode from your host.

Google Podcasts are very similar except that web crawlers locate changes in your RSS feed to announce new episodes. Again Google like Apple do not host audio files but are directories of podcasts.

A little bit into the weeds this episode but important things to know. The process of sending your audio to your listeners’ ears highlights, I think, the importance of choosing a great podcast host as everything revolves around the RSS feed.

If you’re ready to go further into the broadcasting world, drop a DM on Linkedin or send me an email, both links in the show notes.


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