There are three major questions that face every podcaster when setting up their shows. The first question is “How am I going to record my podcast?, the second question is “How will people find my podcast?” and the third is “How am I going to promote my podcast?.” In this post, we are going to look deeply into this second question and learn how to create a digital space for your podcast to live and be found by people worldwide and most important… by Google.
There are several great website builders available to become the home of your podcast. For many of these you can quickly have a website up and running in a matter of minutes and with basic design knowledge, you can have your podcast audio embedded from one of any number of audio sources.
Where all of those website developers have great solutions for sharing audio, there is really only one leader in podcasting that helps you create a Google SEO friendly domain for your audio and video masterpieces. This solution is WordPress. In this post, we will examine how you can use WordPress to not only share your podcasts with the world, but you will see how by using WordPress, you can use a simple plug into “set it and forget it” after your show is posted online.
The king of all podcasting plugins is PowerPress created by a great company called BluBrry (pronounced BLUEBERRY). PowerPress is a free plugin found on the WordPress repository that is the brains behind all of the podcast episodes produced here on TeacherCast. Through PowerPress, podcasts have the opportunity to be hosted directly in the WordPress database or externally on a third party hosting service such as Libsyn. By using PowerPress, you have the ability to allow WordPress control everything about your podcasting RSS Feed, SEO settings, and you can customize the audio and video players and place them anywhere in your blog post.
Before I go any further it must be noted that as a stand-alone blogging platform, WordPress provides a great method of sharing audio. Through its OEMBED system, to insert an audio player, all you have to do is open the post editor and in the visual tab, paste the URL of an MP3 of your choice and it will automatically create an audio player. (This is the same for both WordPress.com and self-hosted ‘.org’ websites.) This is great for embedding audio on a single blog post, but this doesn’t nearly give you the power over SEO, Analytics, and RSS that PowerPress gives you.
Downloading and Installing PowerPress
From your WordPress Dashboard, click on your PLUGINS tab and click ADD NEW. The PowerPress plugin can be found by simply typing PODCAST into the keyword search. To install PowerPress, simply click the INSTALL button and let WordPress perform the installation.
Setting up PowerPress on your WordPress Website
For this blog, we are going to assume that you are hosting your audio file on a third party website such as Libsyn or SoundCloud.
PowerPress has a very simple, yet detailed web of settings to help you customize exactly how you want your podcast to look and act on your blog page. For many, PowerPress and it’s audio/video player is simply used as a way to create a visual on your blog from which audio/video can be played. For others, PowerPress is the brains behind the RSS feed that gets pushed to iTunes and beyond. There are several ways to configure this plugin to your particular needs. Let's take a look at some of the traditional settings. If you have questions about customizing this for your podcast and website, please feel free to reach out to me by email or voicemail and I can help point you in the right direction.
To simply have PowerPress become your audio player on your blog, select the BASIC SETTINGS” tab. There are some pretty amazing settings that you can select to customize your blog post. However, to keep things simple at first, I only recommend having the top box “MEDIA URL” checked off.
Under the MEDIA APPEARANCE tab, you can customize how your audio/video player is displayed on your blog post. There are two methods of adding your audio player. The first method is to have the player automatically show up on either the top or the bottom of your blog post, or you can use the WordPress Shortcode to place the player anywhere in your post. In this section, I recommend checking off “ENABLE POWERPRESS MEDIA PLAYERS AND LINKS” and also “ABOVE PAGE CONTENT.”
Under the FEEDS tab, insert the name of your podcast. By default, PowerPress will take your blog title. In this section, I also recommend adding the date and name of your website in the Copyright section.
In the iTunes section, you have the opportunity to customize your feed for the worlds largest podcasting search engine. One of the most important things to do in this section is to select the appropriate iTunes Categories. (You can choose up to 3) Before leaving this section, input a professional iTunes Author name and email address. I recommend your podcast using “firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The last tab is labeled ARTWORK. In this section, you need to upload and insert a 2880×2880 image. Unfortunately, this section does not have an “upload” button so you will have to do it directly in the media library.
Adding a Podcast to your Blog Post
Once PowerPress is setup to your liking, click the NEW button and start a new post. You will see at the bottom a new Podcast Episode box. Most of this box should be left alone when creating your blog post. To add your podcast audio to your blog post, paste the full URL of your audio file (in .mp3 format) into the MEDIA URL box. To check for accuracy, click the VERIFY URL box and if it’s correct, it should turn green.
Lastly, you need to make sure you have set up a category called “Podcasts” in your post settings.
If you have customized your settings you don’t need to do anything else. Your iTunes Subtitle and iTunes Author boxes should remain blank because you have already set these boxes up in the PowerPress Settings tab.
Congratulations… You Are Ready to Publish your Podcast!
Before you publish your first blog post with your podcast, don’t forget to Save and Review your post. If your audio file doesn’t look the way you wish it to look, go back to the settings and customize further.
If you have any thoughts on using PowerPress or if you have customization settings of your own please feel free to leave suggestions in our comments section.
For some great information on Blubrry PowerPress please check out these great links.
Post originally written in 2014 and revised in 2018