Many streaming services let you upload your podcast for public listening. One of the most popular ones is iTunes (now Apple Podcasts).
Uploading your podcast to Apple Podcasts is free and helps you gain new listeners on one of the biggest platforms.
This article will give you step-by-step instructions on how to submit your podcast to the iTunes Store and Apple Podcasts. Follow each of these steps, and you’ll be well on your way to being a successful podcaster.
- Step 1: Review RSS Feed Requirements and Information for Apple Podcasts
- Step 2: Create an Episode
- Step 3: Submit Your RSS Feed/Podcast to Apple Podcasts
- Step 4: Wait
- Step 5: Check Your Podcast Performance
- Tips to Submit Podcast to iTunes
- Final Thoughts
Step 1: Review RSS Feed Requirements and Information for Apple Podcasts
Before you can submit your podcast to iTunes, Apple must ensure it meets their established requirements.
They require podcasts to meet technical requirements and content guidelines so that listeners can have a safe experience. To upload a podcast to iTunes, you must have:
- An Apple Podcasts Connect account
- A podcast program title
- Podcast files of appropriate file size (audio files, artwork image, etc.)
- An RSS feed that includes required tags, at least one episode, and a podcast artwork image
A podcast RSS feed, or Rich Site Summary, is a format for delivering regularly-changing web content. Apple’s website states that the RSS feed must meet these technical requirements:
- Must adhere to RSS 2.0 specifications, be publicly addressable, and include a specific XML declaration
- Must display podcast cover art (RGB color space between 1400 x 1400 pixels and 3000 x 3000 pixels )
- Must allow streaming playback of episodes by enabling your hosting server for HTTP head requests
- Each episode must have a unique <enclosure> tag, a URL, length, and type (all of which specify the location and host of the episode).
- Each episode must contain a GUID.
- You must use ASCII filenames and URLs.
- All XML tags must respect case sensitivity.
- All date and time in coding must be in “day of the week, day, month, year” format, and the time must be in 24-hour format.
The content must meet specific requirements as well:
- No using Apple Inc. Copyrighted terms, imagery, or branding. Apple has rights reserved for its brand.
- Metadata and album art must accurately portray the content.
- Content must be respectful of all cultural sensitivities and local regulations.
- You must flag explicit content.
- You must not publish password-protected content.
- Content that promotes illegal activity, self-harm, or other illegal content is prohibited.
- Spam content created solely to advertise products or content is prohibited.
You can see these requirements in-depth on Apple’s Podcast Requirements page.
Step 2: Create an Episode
If you’ve already created your episode or show, you can skip this step. Most people who are looking to submit a podcast have already created one or more episodes. However, if you haven’t created an episode yet, keep reading.
You must have at least one episode in your RSS feed to submit your show to iTunes. Your episode(s) can be in the following formats:
Remember to define your episodes in the podcast RSS feed so listeners in the directory can find them.
Step 3: Submit Your RSS Feed/Podcast to Apple Podcasts
To submit your RSS feed/podcast feed on iTunes, you will need an Apple ID and Apple iTunes on your computer. Log into iTunes Connect with your Apple ID and password. If you don’t have an iTunes Connect account, you’ll need to make one.
Creating an account itself is free, but if you are required to sign up with a credit card, you can remove your credit card after you sign.
Once you have your Apple account set up, you click submit. Open iTunes, click on the Store, and look for the “Podcasts” tab. Once you’re in this tab, click submit.
A new tab will open with a box asking you for your podcast feed URL. In this box, you will paste your podcast’s RSS feed URL. You can copy the RSS URL from your podcast host, then click continue.
Once you’ve submitted the RSS feed/podcast feed URL, iTunes will prompt you to a page showing your show info. You will not be able to change this info on iTunes, which is why you should have verified the information in Step One.
You should see a tab for adjusting your iTunes settings before you publish. These settings include the podcast feed title description, RSS feed URL, podcast media files, summary, iTunes category/categories, show notes, and other info. Once you’re ready, click the validate button to continue.
More info: How to publish a podcast
Step 4: Wait
Once you submit your podcast to the website, you must play a waiting game. It takes a few days for Apple to review your show. Be patient, check your email every day, and wait for a notification giving approval.
Apple will provide the current status of your podcasts on the detail page:
- Submitted for Review—Successfully submitted for review.
- Active—Active in Apple Podcasts.
- Delete Pending—Pending deletion.
- Error—There are technical issues or validation errors with the RSS feed, and Podcasts Connect cannot process it.
- Failed Review—Podcasts Connect has rejected your submission, but you can resubmit it.
- Failed Validation—Your podcast RSS feed does not meet minimum requirements, or Apple’s system could not connect to the server that hosts the RSS feed.
- Hidden—Not visible to listeners.
- Prepared for Submission—Your podcast’s RSS feed has passed validation. Apple Podcasts Connect is preparing to submit your feed for review.
- Rejected—Apple has rejected your submission, and you cannot resubmit it.
- Scheduled for Delete, Hide, Unhide, Update, or Refresh—Your podcast on iTunes is in the process of being deleted, hidden, unhidden, updated, or refreshed.
Podcasts will take a few days to a few weeks before getting to the published stage. To check for updates, refresh the website.
Submitting your Podbean podcast to Spotify can also be a challenge, so check out how it can be done here.
Step 5: Check Your Podcast Performance
Congratulations! Your show is live on iTunes. You can use Podcast Analytics, a data visualization tool by Apple, to review actionable insights into your podcast’s performance. You can access this tool via Apple Podcasts Connect using your Apple ID.
With this tool, you can understand how users listen to your show, such as:
- How many people are listening to your podcast on iTunes
- Which episodes are performing best
- Which parts of episodes are the most interesting to listeners
- Where your listeners are
- And more
Make sure to pay attention to metrics, as they offer valuable insight into the demographics, interests, and other information about your listeners. Can be a great insight into how often your should be publishing podcast episodes for your listener.
Tips to Submit Podcast to iTunes
Our step-by-step guide for submitting your podcast is just the beginning. Here are some tips to get the most out of your podcast.
Tip #1: Submit to Multiple Podcast Directories
By submitting to multiple directories, you get a bigger, more diverse audience. The metrics will speak for themselves.
If you submit to another directory or directories to host your podcast, your responsibility as a podcaster is to know your podcast meets the RSS requirements.
Tip #2: Be Unique
Your show should be unique. There are dozens of self-help podcasts out there, but what makes yours unlike any other?
If your show is about computer science, what differs you from the other computer science podcasts on the iTunes Store? Making your podcast name unique can go a long way in getting listeners to click on your show.
When you upload an episode, create a unique program title that will reel in listeners. Your podcast artwork should also be eye-catching. The title description should indicate what your episode or show is about without boring the user. Each of your episodes should contain unique themes that keep listeners invested.
By taking steps at the beginning to differentiate your show from the rest, you’ll enjoy a broader, more diverse listener base.
Tip #3: Don’t Forget Marketing
Podcasting isn’t easy, and you can’t expect new listeners to show up out of nowhere. Make sure you’re marketing your show to the same people you want as your target audience.
- Create a blog for your listeners to read, then create a new blog post every time you upload a new episode. Include an image or two to avoid blocks of text.
- Create a website with an easy-to-remember URL and links to download episodes.
- Add valuable information to your show notes, such as your website URL, links to your social media, etc.
- Share your episodes and engage with your listeners base on social media, then thank listeners for their support.
- If you’re not the podcast host, make sure your podcast hosts are active on social media. Image is everything.
- Offer a gift card to purchase your podcast as a promotional tactic.
- Find people interested in your podcast, then tell them about it. Don’t spam links or use shady promotional tactics.
- Find Facebook and Reddit groups relevant to your podcast and leverage them. Inquire about guest posts featuring your podcast and add an image or two.
Tip #4: Use a Podcast Hosting Platform
Starting a podcast on iTunes can be an arduous task. Podcast hosting platforms like Podbean give you the resources and features you need to start, promote, and monetize your podcast.
These podcast hosting platforms also allow you to distribute your show to all destinations: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, and more. They also let you measure your success by reviewing statistics and insights. Some podcast hosting platforms will even give you a gift card for signing up with them.
If you’re trying to submit your podcast to Apple Podcasts, you’re not alone. Many people are in the same situation. All you need to do is follow the steps in our guide to get started podcasting. Once you’re in the Apple directory and you’ve begun broadcasting podcast episodes, monitor your analytics so you can continue to grow your listener base.