Podcasting: Using Apple’s new Podcasts Connect service
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For years, since the beginning of the iTunes podcast directory really, a podcast producer had to submit their podcast to iTunes by using the iTunes app. For those of us who used Macs, that was no big deal, but for PC users who found iTunes to be unnecessary for anything else, it was kind of a pain to download and install iTunes just to submit a podcast. For Linux users, the only choice was to get a friend to submit their podcast.
Now, we have another option. In the past couple of weeks, Apple has released PodcastsConnect.com. Note that there’s an “s” after the word “podcast” and before “connect” when you type in the url or you’ll go to the wrong site.
So, what can you do on Podcasts connect? Get your mirror URL, change your feed (trust me, don’t do it), delete shows (not episodes), hide shows (again, not episodes), refresh your feed (don’t do this either), and go to the listing for your show in iTunes.
Let’s look at what each does.
The mirror url is an Apple created redirect for your show. No one I’ve heard talk about this feature knows for sure what Apple has in mind, but it seems to be a url that doesn’t change even if your feed does. So, you could hand it out and it should (in theory) remain the same whether you release one episode or ten years of episodes. I’d hold off doing that until we get more clarification.
Changing your feed. Let’s say you change podcast hosts. You might be tempted to go into this field and just type the new feed. Don’t do it. By typing the new feed, you don’t change the feed that your current subscribers are connected to. You just change what future subscribers will use. This could cause you to lose most of your current audience.
Delete shows. Let’s say you have an old show that you’re not going to do anymore. In that case, you might want to delete it. This is the place to do it, but be careful because it’s a one-way trip. You can’t undelete.
Hide shows. Have a show that you may or may not want to bring back, but you don’t want to get new subscribers for, unless it does come back? That’s what this does. This is reversible, so I’d start with this instead of delete, unless you were really sure. As an aside, there is a feature in the RSS tags of your feed that can hide individual episodes from iTunes. I don’t know why you’d want to use it unless you were putting profanity in the title, but since this is “Tech Help for CHURCHES,” it doesn’t really apply to you.
Refresh feed. This allows you to send a message to iTunes to refresh what’s in your feed. Only use this if it’s been over 24 hours since you published and your episode isn’t showing up in iTunes. Then, try and use this sparingly. We don’t want Apple to take it away because podcasters abused it. When in doubt, don’t use it.
For more discussion on this cool new tool (including the web browser that it doesn’t seem to work in, at least for me), watch the video above.
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