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How to Publish a Podcast for Your Blog

You can put your podcast into the blogosphere fairly simply: Write a blog post about your podcast, upload your podcast media file, and then publish it by using your blog software.

How to assign metadata to your podcast

Metadata is data about data. In the case of podcasts, metadata is data that describes your video or audio podcast. When you publish a podcast, whether audio or video, you need to provide descriptive metadata that podcast systems such as Apple's iTunes and the RSS feed can read.

Common metadata types include

  • Title

  • Author name

  • Publication information

  • Topics covered

  • Type of file

  • Descriptions

  • Keywords

Your editing software asks you to enter metadata when you create your audio or video files, and software such as iTunes also offers you a chance to provide metadata.

How to choose a podcast format

Most audio bloggers release audio files in the MP3 format. MP3 files are easy to create and play on a variety of devices. Most computer users are familiar with the format, and both browsers and preinstalled audio players have good built-in support for MP3s.

Other options are available, such as OOG, an open format, and AAC, a format popular on Apple computers. Windows users can play AAC files, too, if they install QuickTime. The Apple iPod can't play OOG files, which is a significant issue for most audiences. AAC has some nice features, such as audio bookmarks.

How to store your podcasts

When you have a podcast ready for primetime, you need to figure out where to put it online. Posting your podcast poses two problems:

  • Storage: You need a place to put the actual file. Audio and video files are larger than text files, so you may run into an issue with disk space when you store them.

  • Bandwidth (the amount of data your audience downloads): You have to account for the additional bandwidth required for your audience to download those files.

You have two options for getting the storage and bandwidth you need: your web-hosting server (the one that hosts your blog) or a free storage website.

How to put your files on your own web-hosting server

Check with your web host to find out how much disk space you have available and what it costs to increase your allotment. If you're a video podcaster, you want a hosting package that has several gigabytes of storage space. If you stick with only audio, you need a few gigabytes to start.

You also need to consider bandwidth when you choose your hosting service. Most web-hosting packages offer a standard amount of bandwidth, and you're charged if you and your audience use more than that. Most web hosts have pretty reasonable fees, unless your podcast becomes the hottest thing on the web and your traffic becomes astronomical.

To give you a better idea about how file sizes can affect your web-hosting costs, here are some reasonable working numbers:

  • 1MB (megabyte) audio file: If you have 100 subscribers and you post one audio file a week, your estimated bandwidth for that file is about 100MB.

  • 10MB (megabyte) video file: If you have 100 subscribers and you post one video file a week, your estimated bandwidth for that file is 1000MB or 1GB.

From these numbers, you can see how your bandwidth needs may skyrocket. Thinking about these almost hidden costs is important because you can get stuck with a hosting bill you weren't expecting.

Bandwidth can be a confusing concept, especially when dealing with a podcast. Websites like Podtopia have tools that let you generate estimates on how much it can cost you to host your own files.

Most hosting packages come with a finite amount of disk space and bandwidth. You most likely can post only a certain number of podcasts before your hosting package runs out of space. Unless you have the dollars to spend, you probably need to find an alternative for storing your files.

How to use a free storage and sharing website

Luckily for podcasters, a great service called Archive.org is the home of the Internet Archive, a nonprofit organization founded in 1996 to build an Internet library in which researchers, historians, and the general public can store and access text, audio, moving images, software, and a vast collection of archived web pages.

You can upload your podcasts to the Internet Archive for free, as long as you comply with its guidelines and describe your content. The system also provides and converts your video or audio format into other formats for increased accessibility.

You can find other podcast storage options, too. YouTube has soared in popularity. When you upload a video to YouTube, your video is listed on the site, where visitors can view and comment on it.

You can also grab the code for the file and embed it directly into your website or blog post. Files that you upload to YouTube are reformatted into Flash video. They must be shorter than 15 minutes and less than 2GB in size.

If you think 15 minutes isn't long enough for your blog, YouTube offers a YouTube Partner Program. Members of the program are granted permission to upload larger video files, have videos longer than 15 minutes, and share advertisement revenue.

How to deliver your podcasts

You need to make sure that your blog has an RSS web feed. Podcasts are typically delivered to playback software (such as Apple iTunes) through a subscription to your blog's RSS feed.

You need an RSS feed so that your viewers and listeners can subscribe to it themselves, but also so that you can promote your podcast by using some of the handy podcast promotional directories and software out there.

If a consumer subscribes to a podcast feed by using an RSS reader, most modern readers automatically download the files so that the user can listen or watch at his or her convenience.

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