CORRECTION (10/2/2019): An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated how RSS feeds work.
I often find myself in conversations about podcasts with folks who are new to the business or interested in learning more. Invariably, at some point in the conversation, I will say something and realize I have used a term that I know well, but they are not familiar with. So, I decided to write some quick definitions for common terms I get asked about. These will help beginning podcasters in their own communications, as they learn more about the process. Here you go!
RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication.” Think of this as the host and home for your podcasts. You upload your audio, art, and show notes to sites like Simplecast, Spreaker, and Libsyn and from there make changes to the episodes as needed. This feed is then referenced by podcast directories like iHeartRadio, iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify. A good hosting site will then provide you with metrics from those platforms. For more detailed information on how RSS feeds work, check out this great article from Aaron at Simplecast.
Speaking of metrics…
Plays are when people actually start and listen to your show and downloads are when a show is downloaded but not necessarily listened to. Most often, these numbers will be added together when talking total numbers for a podcast. Other metrics you should look for in a provider are geographic, the device used, and how long someone listens to a podcast. (Simplecast does this, and we love it for seeing how the content is sticking.)
Baked In vs. Dynamic Insertion
Traditionally, podcast ads were what we called “baked in.” This simply means the ad is done by the hosts in the podcast when the podcast is recorded. And it stays there as long as the podcast exists. Unless a producer manually goes in and replaces the ad. Dynamic insertion is a service where you record a spot, and it is then inserted into all the podcasts you have done, past and present. This allows you to easily change out messaging as well as get the most impressions for each ad.
It’s amazing how often these are overlooked by podcast producers. Show notes are published with your audio. They describe the show, the guest, and tell the listener more about what the episode is about. They are VITAL for SEO (Search engine optimization). Increasingly, more people are finding podcasts from Google search, and if you don’t have great show notes, you are making it harder for people to find your show.
There are many more, but these are some of the most basic concepts that podcast producers should understand.
For more or to find out how I can help your business start an amazing podcast, contact us.
Matty is the former Director of Content at Stitcher, Radio’s first VP of Podcast Programming with iHeartRadio, and is now the President of Jam Street Media in Los Angeles. www.JamStreetMedia.com@MattyStaudt on social media.
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