This year, the number of podcast listeners globally is expected to reach 424 million—roughly 20% of all internet users!
There's never been more potential to grow your podcast's audience. And in this article, ZenCast will be discussing one of the most powerful tools available to podcasters today: podcast syndication.
Not sure what podcast syndication is? Don't worry—we'll explain everything!
What Is Podcast Syndication?
Podcast syndication is just a fancy name for the process of making your show available on multiple platforms.
The most common form of podcast syndication is creating an RSS feed. An RSS feed is a code that allows your podcast to be indexed by directories like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.
When you submit your RSS feed to these directories, your show will appear in their listings. And that makes it easier for new listeners to find and subscribe to your show.
Syndicating your podcast can also involve distributing your episodes to websites and apps other than directories, though. For example, you might try to get your podcast featured on a popular blog or podcast aggregator.
Why Should You Syndicate Your Podcast?
There are three main benefits of syndicating your podcast: reach, convenience, and revenue.
Reach: Reach refers to the number of potential listeners you're reaching through the channels you use to distribute your podcast. Spotify has roughly 35 million monthly podcast listeners, and Apple has roughly 28 million. By syndicating your podcast to both of these platforms rather than relying on one, you're doubling the potential audience of your show.
Convenience: Only your most hardcore fans will be willing to switch between multiple apps just to listen to your show. If you're only available on a few platforms, you're making it unnecessarily difficult for potential listeners to actually listen to your podcast. By making it easy to listen to your show, you're making it more likely that people actually will.
Revenue: Syndicated shows generally attract bigger audiences. Bigger audiences generally attract bigger sponsors and more ad revenue. If you're looking to monetize your podcast, syndication is a great way to do it.
But how do you actually go about syndicating a podcast? Let's talk about it.
How to Syndicate Your Podcast
Like we covered earlier, the easiest way to syndicate your podcast is to create an RSS feed and submit it to the major directories.
Creating an RSS feed manually is a bit technical, but there are plenty of guides out there that can walk you through the process. And if you're looking for a simpler alternative, ZenCast is the easiest way to create an RSS feed for your show and automatically distribute it to all the major directories.
Once you've got your RSS feed set up, all you need to do is submit it to the directories you want to be listed in.
What Directories Should You Submit Your RSS Feed To?
The three biggest podcast directories are Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify with a combined monthly user base of 62.2 million. If you're looking to reach a wide audience with minimal effort, you should start by submitting your RSS feed to all three of them.
That said, there are also a ton of smaller directories out there. And while they don't have quite as many users, they can still be a great way to reach new listeners.
Here are a few others to consider:
With ZenCast, you can submit your RSS feed to all of the above directories (and more) with just a few clicks.
What Information Should Your RSS Feed Contain?
Your RSS feed is essentially a code that tells podcast directories what your show is all about and how to find your episodes.
When creating your RSS feed, there are a few key things you'll need to include:
Show Name: Pretty self-explanatory. If you're just starting out, be sure to pick a show name that's short, unique, and memorable.
Show Subtitle: A subtitle is a great way to give listeners a quick overview of what your show is all about. Keep it short and sweet.
Show Description: This is where you really get to sell your show. Write a description that's compelling and informative, but also keep it under 400 words.
Cover Art: Your cover art is the first thing potential listeners will see, so make sure it's high-quality and attractive. It should be at least 1400×1400 pixels and in JPG or PNG format.
Copyright Disclaimers: If you're using any copyrighted material in your show, you'll need to include a disclaimer in your RSS feed.
Language: The language your show is in.
Explicit Rating (if applicable): If your show contains explicit content, you'll need to include a warning in your RSS feed.
Category Tags: These help potential listeners find your show in directories. Be sure to include relevant tags like “Comedy,” “News,” or “Sports.”
In addition to show information, your RSS feed will also contain episode-specific information, including:
Episode Title: This is what potential listeners will see in directories, so make it catchy and to the point.
Publish Date: This is the date and time your episode will go live in directories.
Episode Description: This is where you give listeners a taste of what your episode is about. Keep it under 400 words.
Media File Enclosure: This is the actual audio file for your episode. Be sure to use MP3 format and keep the file size under 500 MB.
Duration: The length of your episode in HH:MM:SS format.
File Size: The size of your episode in MB.
Explicit Rating (if applicable): If your episode contains explicit content, you'll need to include a warning.
Featured Image (if applicable): If you have an image you want to display along with your episode, you can include it here.
If you're using ZenCast, we'll automatically generate your RSS feed and handle all the technical stuff for you. All you need to do is create an account and select the podcast directories you want to be listed in.
Then, you can upload your podcast episodes to ZenCast once, and we'll take care of the syndication part!
Podcast Syndication Tips
Now that you know the basics of podcast syndication, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of it:
1. Combine Hosting and Distribution
Hosting and distribution are two different, but equally important, pieces of the puzzle. And while you can use separate services for each, it's easier (and cheaper) to combine them.
As a ZenCast user, you get access to a podcast hosting platform that can distribute your show to all the major directories automatically. Upload your episodes to ZenCast and your show’s RSS feed will automatically be updated.
2. Use Your Website Like a Syndication Hub
Your website should be the center of your podcasting universe. From your website, you can share links to your episodes (and other content) across all your social media channels, link to the various directories your show is listed in, and even embed your episodes on your site.
And if you're using ZenCast, you get a beautifully simple podcast landing page (and custom domain) at no extra cost.
3. Drive Traffic to Your Episodes
Just because your episodes are automatically syndicated to all the major directories doesn't mean people will actually listen to them. You need to actively promote your episodes if you want people to tune in.
Share links to your episodes on social media, embed them on your website, and include calls-to-action in your email newsletters and blog posts. The more places you promote your episodes, the more likely people are to actually listen to them.
If you’re looking for a beautiful player that’s easy to embed, ZenCast has you covered. The ZenCast player looks great on any page or content and is a great way to drive traffic to your episodes.
4. Use Analytics to Improve Your Show
You can't improve your show if you don't know how people are consuming it. That's why it's important to track your show's progress with analytics.
ZenCast comes with in-house analytics that give you insights into how people are finding and listening to your show, as well as offering podcasters a simple dashboard for tracking reviews. Plus, you can integrate ZenCast with Google Analytics for even more detailed data.
5. Engage with Your Audience
The best way to grow your audience is to engage with the listeners you already have. Respond to comments and questions on social media, answer emails, and interact with people on your website. The more you engage with your audience, the more likely they are to stick around (and tell their friends about your show).
Getting Started with Podcast Syndication
Podcast syndication is a powerful tool for growing your audience and reach. By making your episodes available on all the major directories, you can significantly increase your show's visibility and reach a whole new audience.
ZenCast makes it easy to syndicate your podcast to all the major directories, with support for iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and more. Plus, you get access to powerful analytics and a beautiful podcast landing page at no extra cost.
To get started with podcast syndication, create a ZenCast account and start maximizing your reach!