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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Podcasting 101

IDEA Lab Workshops

Discoverability & Best Practices

Step one: Branding

Choose a name and draw up your cover art! There are a few things to consider in this process:

  • On naming... Make sure your name is easily findable, and be sure it is original. Check that no one else has already taken your name by doing a search before you commit to it. And check to see if the name is already taken on social media, since you will want to create accounts for your podcast!
  • On cover art... Cover art should be eye-catching and easy to see on mobile devices. To ensure your logo is ready to go, send it to your phone and make sure it is easy to see at many different sizes. There are websites like Canva where you can create your cover art for free. Ensure you are not using any copyrighted imagery!

Step two: Promotion

There are so many ways to promote your podcast – social media, flyers, word-of-mouth. Get creative!

  • On social media… You can post on social media to draw in new listeners. Use clips from your podcast to create reels or TikToks and draw people in! Consider recording video while doing your podcast and post parts of that on social media. You can also post the full podcast on Youtube for people who prefer to see it visually.
  • On collaborations… Getting help from other podcasters through collaborations is a great way to embrace community. If your podcast features guests, keep them in the loop and tag them when posting about the episode on social media. Guests can promote the episode, too!
  • On reviews… At the end of each episode, ensure you include a reminder to listeners to write a review of your podcast! Reviews make your podcast easier for other listeners to find.
  • On podcast trailers… Consider making a podcast trailer! This is another way for people to find your podcast. Spotify recently made a video on how to make a good trailer, check it out here.

Hosting

SoundCloud, Anchor, and PodBean are all options for hosting platforms, but they are certainly not the only ones out there! It is important that you do your research and come to your own decision on which platform you would like to use.

Some questions to consider:

  • Does the platform produce an RSS feed that you can submit to apps for listening like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Audible, or Google Podcasts?
    • The button to acquire an RSS feed usually looks like this:  Once you have opened the feed, you simply copy and paste the URL.
    • SoundCloud has a helpful page about acquiring an RSS feed and sharing it!
  • Does the platform put a cap on storage? How many episodes can you publish without being charged?

University of Washington Libraries has a great page with more information to consider when deciding where to host your podcast. Check it out here.

In addition to submitting your RSS feed to host your podcast, consider if you want to build a website or embed the podcasts in an existing website you already have. Having a website for your podcast can increase its discoverability and create a single location where listeners can find resources like your transcripts, links to social media, or your advertising platform.

Another part of creating and distributing your podcast can be monetization. We say "can" because you do not necessarily need to do so, but if you are interested in making money off your show, there are business platforms that allow you to monetize. Using one of these services allows anyone who wanted to support your podcast to donate, and you could offer exclusive content to those subscribers as a thank you. If you monetize your podcast, the mid roll is an excellent place to consider working in any advertisements or shout-outs. Examples of business platforms for podcasting include Patreon, Podia, Buy Me a Coffee, Kickstarter, and Ko-fi.

To connect to everyone:

  • Use transcripts: Transcripts provide an additional option to access your podcast for users who are deaf, hard of hearing, use a screen reader, or for whom English is a second language. Provide transcripts for your episodes online on your website or hosting platform profile, and link to the transcripts in the description of each episode.
  • Make your website accessible: Use readable fonts and colors as well as descriptive ALT text for images on your page.
  • Consider video: Make a video to accompany your podcast and provide captions. This is another way people can engage with your podcast! You can post it on Youtube for free.

Be open to feedback and suggestions from listeners with perspectives different than your own!