Whatever you think about Apple’s dominance of the podcast space and regardless of what your favourite podcast app is, one thing is clear; if you have a podcast, you need to make sure it is in Apple Podcasts.
Put simply, if your show is not in the podcast provider formerly known as iTunes, you’re going to struggle to get listeners. Apple Podcasts has the biggest directory and – until Google pulls its finger out and gets involved – the biggest reach when it comes to serialised audio.
Now, the idea of getting a show onto Apple Podcasts can seem daunting, but it’s really not as bad as it sounds – you just need to follow a few simple steps. What are those simple steps? Well, keep reading, friends, and you’ll find out!
Step 1: Pre-submission checklist
There are a few things you need to have in place before you send your show to the Apple gods, namely…
- A podcast (duh), at least one episode published (although more is better) on a page/platform from which you can grab an RSS feed.
- A website to host your show – either your own show or a hosting platform such as Podbean, Libsyn, Soundcloud or somewhere like Squarespace, who have a dedicated podcasting plugin.
- Artwork for your show, presented as a square jpg or png at least 1400 x 1400 pixels and, at most, 3000 x 3000 pixels in size, in RGB colour space. The ideal format is 1400 x 1400 pixels as a jpg.
- A unique title for your show
- At least one category that your show fits into – there’s a full list here.
- A valid email address in your show’s contact field.
- An active Apple ID
You should also make your content doesn’t include any of the following…
- Password protection
- Racist, misogynist or homophobic content
- Explicit language without indicating as such
- Explicit language in the title or descriptions
- Third-party content used without permission
- Any Apple intellectual property used without permission
Ok, all good? Let’s get cracking!
Step 2: find your RSS feed
However you’re hosting your show, you need to find your RSS feed. Without it, you can’t submit to Apple Podcasts, as podcast are distributed by the feed.
So, find your feed, copy it to note somewhere and keep it to hand!
Step 3: test your podcast
Before you formally submit your show to Apple Podcasts, it’s worth testing it all works – it just saves hassle in the long run. In fact, Apple’s own guidance says you should only submit your show to them once you’ve tested it.
So, publish some audio, get your artwork, contact details, title, descriptions and categories sorted and then do one (or both) of the following…
- Open iTunes, choose File > Subscribe to Podcast, enter your RSS feed URL in the text box, then click OK. If your computer is able to download and play the episode, then your podcast is working and you can submit it to Apple Podcasts.
- Use a third-party feed validation service to check your feed and diagnose any problems with it. Apple recommends using http://podba.se/validate/ so, y’know, you might as well do the same.
Step 4: go to iTunes Podcasts Connect
Right, this is why you need an active Apple ID. Head over to Podcasts Connect, and log in using your Apple ID. You’ll then be shown your Podcasts Connect dashboard, which, once your show is live and running, is where you’ll be able to see Apple’s Podcast Analytics.
Step 5: validate your feed
In the top left corner, you’ll see a + sign. Click this, and you’ll be asked to enter your RSS feed and validate it.
Now, having already tested your show, there shouldn’t be any problems here. However, sometimes Apple’s computer will say no – the most common reasons are…
- Your show’s artwork doesn’t meet the minimum specifications (at least 1400×1400 resolution and JPG or PNG format)
- One of the required fields such as category, email, title is missing
- You haven’t published an episode yet and the feed is empty – this is why you need at least one episode already done and published before you start this process
Once your feed is validated, you’ll get a screen showing you all the details for your show and you’ll now be able to click ‘submit’.
Bet you’ll never guess step 6…
Step 6: submit your feed
Now’s the time. Do it. Push the button. Click submit.
Step 7: wait
Stick the kettle on, find a comfy seat, cue up your favourite boxset (or podcast of course)…all you can do now is wait for Apple to approve your show.
There’s no hard-and-fast rule for how long this takes – some people say it takes a couple of days, technically it might take up to 10 days in fact, but some shows also get approved in a matter of hours.
Whatever it is for you, as soon as your show has been approved you’ll get an email from Apple telling you so. It’ll then take a couple more days to actually appear in the Apple Podcasts directory and Podcasts app.
Step 8: go, go go!
That’s it! Your show is now ready to be heard! Make more episodes, share links to your show and get people subscribing – happy podcasting!
Getting your show into Apple Podcasts will cover most bases. However, some other podcast providers do require you to submit to them individually, so keep your RSS feed to hand. These ‘other’ providers include Stitcher and the increasingly influential Acast.
If you want more info about getting your podcast Apple-ready, check out their own guidance on the matter.