In the last couple of years, podcasts have taken over mainstream media in a big way, but exactly how do podcasts work? Movies like Tusk reference them (or even use them as a story point), they're being adapted into TV shows like Dirty John, and there are now over 550,000 active podcasts.
Popularity aside, podcasts are where they are today because of one thing: they're easy to access and listen to. With big companies like Spotify getting in on the action, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about? Uncover the truth about what they are, how they work, and why you need to start your own podcast!
How Do Podcasts Work Anyway? 🤔
The dictionary definition of the word "Podcast" is:
A digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new instalments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.
But that all sounds a bit wordy doesn’t it? In our opinion, podcasts are:
Like Netflix, but for just audio!
Podcasts are basically on demand, talk shows on any subject you can possibly think of. Fishing, we got it! Music, sure thing! True Crime, a Whole. Freaking. Bunch! So you’re pretty much guaranteed to find at least one podcast that interests you.
How Podcasts Work (& Why You Should Care)
Unlike other forms of media, podcasts have fewer restrictions and greater freedom in telling stories. There are no rules set in stone for how long a podcast should be, type of content, or even how they're presented. They’re hosted on podcast hosting platforms like Podcast.co.
Essentially, they help podcasters store audio files, manage networks, view statistics, and deliver the latest episodes to listeners. Directories like iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher are places where people can subscribe and listen to your podcast. These use something called an RSS Feed which looks like this:
Don’t panic if that all looks a bit complicated! At Podcast.co we try to make sure that you don't have to deal with loads of complex or technical stuff, that way you can get on with actually making your podcast sound great! We have services to help cut out the mumbo-jumbo, including a way for us to submit your RSS feed to directories on your behalf.
When it comes down to it, podcasts are just audio files. Learning how to upload episodes and manage your content helps demystify how podcasts work.
For example, take RSS feeds. On the surface, huge blocks of code look confusing, but they're just a way to structure your podcast's data. Every RSS feed has this:
These bits of code tell directories how to display your podcast. This information MUST be filled in, otherwise, your podcast isn't going to get listed on any directory. Your RSS feed should have the following:
- Image: Minimum of 1400 x 1400px.
- Title: Name of your podcast.
- Author: Your name or your business' name.
- Description: Short description of your podcast.
- Episode: Name of your podcast episodes (have at least 1 episode).
- Categories: Select 1 category and up to 2 subcategories.
For more on how podcast RSS feeds work, check out: Podcast RSS Feeds… What the Heck Are They?!?
Podcast.co: Podcast Hosting, Done Right
With Podcast.co, you can fill in most of your podcast's details on your Settings page within your account. But if all of this sounds too much for you, then we're here to help submit and get your podcast on places like Spotify, iTunes, and more!
Hopefully, that's answered "how do podcasts work?". If you're looking to start your own podcast then you couldn't have picked a better time! At Podcast.co we have a team of professionals ready to answer your questions. Click the little bubble in the bottom right corner or spark up a conversation here. Alternatively, get the ball rolling right now by getting started today 👇👇👇