An RSS Feed is the standard and easiest way to share your podcast episodes with your listeners, no matter which app or website they use.
They’ll be able to search for your episodes on sites like Pandora, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or Apple Podcasts. However, there are also many lesser-known podcast directories and websites your future listeners may prefer and an RSS feed makes it easy for you to deploy your episodes there as well.
An RSS feed allows users to see updates or changes from a podcast hosting frequently without having to go directly to that site every time.
Read on to learn how to create an RSS feed for your podcast so users can subscribe and listen wherever they like!
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What is a Podcast RSS Feed?
Also known as Really Simple Syndication, RSS feed allows other websites to pull every new episode from your podcast hosting. People can view the most recent articles from your blog or podcast feed by clicking a link in their favorite RSS reader.
An RSS feed allows people to stay up-to-date with your content even if they don’t have time to regularly check your website, social media or podcast hosting. You can post your podcast episodes and then configure your RSS feed to automatically publish your new episodes to your feed which will get distributed to all the platforms you’ve set up (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, etc.)
The format for an RSS feed is varies depending on the podcast hosting you use. For example, if you have a podcast hosted at Podbean.com, your RSS feed will look like https://feed.podbean.com/<yourpodcastname>/feed.xml.
Libsyn RSS feeds look like this on the other hand: https://feeds.libsyn.com/<uniquenumberassignedtoyourpodcast>/rss.
To function as intended or desired, an RSS requires extra bits of information, which basically includes the title, language, description, category, explicit rating, and artwork.
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How Does an RSS Feed Work?
When just starting out as a podcaster, understanding what an RSS feed is or what it does may be challenging. You can use your podcast hosting service to help you create an RSS feed.
Once you’ve recorded and edited your new episode, you will need to upload it as an mp3 file to a podcast hosting service. This is where you keep all your podcast information and audio files.
Your podcast host will generate an RSS feed link to access these files. It is this link that your audience would use to access your content on the podcast directories they’re listed on.
A user subscribes to the RSS feed of your podcast. The feed automatically sends new episodes of your podcast to their feed reader.
Once the podcast is added to their RSS reader, it will automatically download new episodes as they are published. Different feed readers display content in different ways.
Some readers show a list of new content, while others show the latest or most recent episodes. Once a user subscribes to your RSS feed, they will get notified each time a new episode is published.
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Do You Need an RSS Feed to Start a Podcast?
You do not necessarily need an RSS feed to start a podcast but you’ll need it to share new content with your audience using different podcast players. If your podcast is part of a network, your network normally has an RSS feed that you can use to get your podcast’s media files out there.
If you’re going to have your podcast listed on podcast platforms, you will need a podcast’s RSS feed because it is the option your audience has to access your episodes. This means that if you do not have the RSS feed, the chances of your podcast appearing on the podcasting directories are pretty slim. This also means that your target audiences may not even be able to listen to your new podcast episodes.
Related: Vlog vs. Blog vs. Podcasting: How Should I Be Distributing Content?
How to Create an RSS Feed for Your Podcast
You can create an RSS feed for your podcast in different ways. You can choose to host your own RSS feed on your own server, hosting provider or use a service that provides RSS feeds.
If you want to host your own RSS feed yourself, you can use a site like RSS Builder. It is an open-source RSS-making platform that’s also free to use. With this program, you can always upload every episode to your website to generate the relevant feeds.
To create your own RSS feed with the RSS Builder software, you will need to first generate a news feed. Proceed to give it a title before adding your website URL.
Once you’re done with the podcast description, queue it for generation. Every time you upload new content, you add the unique URL to your RSS feed.
Many podcast hosting providers allow you to create a feed by default. If they don’t, you can usually add it as a feature. Here are steps to create your RSS feeds using some of the most popular hosting providers;
Step 1: Create your New Show
If you don’t have a Libsyn account yet then the first step is to create one by clicking the ‘Sign Up’ button. You should see it in the top right corner of the website. Fill in the necessary details, including name, email address, and password, and then accept to agree with Libsyn’s terms of service to proceed.
If you’re already using Libsyn, just log into your account, head over to the dashboard section, and then click ‘Register New Show.’ You should find this in a drop-down menu from the account email
Step 2: Modify Show Settings
On your account, navigate to settings and edit them to add the unique identifying information for your show. The first thing to do here is to change the website address from the Libsyn-generated URL to your own website URL, then you’ll want to write up a description for your podcast, add the cover art, etc.
Step 3: Editing Destinations
Hover over ‘Destination’ and then click ‘edit’ under Libsyn Classic Feed. You’ll get a form for configuring your RSS feed. Depending on your preferred directories, you may get alerts for configuring your RSS feeds to work well.
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If you’re using Podbean, follow these steps to create your RSS feed.
Step 1: Head over to your ‘Podcast Dashboard and then locate ‘Settings’
Step 2: Select ‘Feed’
Step 3: Click’ View RSS feed’ to get your feed URL
Related: Anchor vs. Buzzsprout and Anchor FM vs Podbean
Podcast RSS Feed Requirements
If you’ve decided to create your own podcast RSS feed, it is important to ensure that it meets the podcast RSS feed requirements. Real quick, here’s a rundown of the feed requirements you ought to know about;
- Your feed URLs should not be password protected
- The artwork you use for your shows needs to be displayed
- Ensure your host server is enabled for both byte-range and HTTP HEAD requests
- Every episode must have unique identifying information; <enclosure> tag, plus the URL, length, and type
- All your episodes must have permanent, globally unique identifiers (GUID)
- Respect case sensitivity across all the XML tags
- Stick to URLs including a-z, A-Z, or 0-9 and ASCII filenames only.
Create an RSS Feed Without a Hosting Platform
If you’re using your own website for hosting podcasts, you can use plugins to help you generate podcast RSS feeds. If you’re using a WordPress site, some of the most popular plugin options you may want to use are Seriously Simple Podcasting and PowerPress. These plugins can help you generate podcast-only RSS feeds that you will need to submit your episodes to different directories.
Related: Best WordPress Themes For Podcasts
What Does a Podcast RSS Feed Look Like?
Let’s look at an example of a well-defined RSS feed. The feed for a show is an xml file that looks like this:
<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
<rss version=”2.0″ xmlns:itunes=”http://www.itunes.com/dtds/podcast-1.0.dtd” xmlns:content=”http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/”>
<title>Your Podcast Name</title>
<copyright>© 2019 Your Company Name</copyright>
<description> The description of your podcast in detail. Make sure to add as many keywords as possible while keeping it natural so new listeners know what they are getting into.</description>
<itunes:owner> <itunes:name>Your Name</itunes:name>
<itunes:category text=”Sub-Category”/> </itunes:category>
<itunes:title>Your First Episode Title</itunes:title>
<![CDATA[The description of your first episode, what you cover and what you would like them to do. Like: Go listen to this episode on`
<pubDate>Thu, 21 Jul 2022 02:25:00 GMT</pubDate>
You will see tags like <itunes:category> and <language> on this feed example. These shouldn’t scare you. They’re basically the information that identifies the channel. The other tags like the <itunes:episodeType> and <pubDate> are all set when the episode is published.
Other information to note is the podcast episode title, the show notes, the audio content and unique identifier for the podcast itself.
This is the file the podcast sites will download when you submit your rss url to their platform. And it’s this url link that they will check for updates as well when you post a new episode.
Related: Best Podcast Hosting Platforms.
How do You Know Your RSS Feed Is Working?
Since it’s through the RSS feed that you will be visible to your audience, you want to ensure that it’s indeed working. One way to ensure your feed is working correctly is to test it out in a RSS reader, like podba.se.
Once you’re on the feed reader, you can add your RSS feed to see if your most recent posts are appearing there. The RSS reader will check the feed you’ve provided to ensure they’re working well without any issues.
As a basic rule of thumb, it is recommendable that you verify that your RSS feeds are working before submitting them to any directories you may want to use. Please note that the fact that an RSS feed reader validates your feed as good doesn’t mean it will remain good forever.
Updates like having an HTML in the description field if you’re using iTunes or updating your cover art that goes against the required size if you’re using Apple Podcasts, for example, will render your feed invalid. With an invalid RSS feed, your audience won’t get to see any latest episode you publish.
If you have a website, you’ll be able to embed the podcast player and use this method to ensure each new episode is working as expected. There are many ways to do this, but the easiest is through a wordpress plugin like the PowerPress plugin from Blubrry to embed each episode in your blog posts. Not only this allows website visitors to stay up to date with their favorite podcasts on the podcast’s site, but you’ll be able to hit play yourself as a way to verify you indeed have a valid RSS feed.
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How to Submit Your Podcast RSS Feed To Podcast Directories
After you’ve created your feed, you can submit it to podcast directories such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. These directories contain thousands of podcasts and help users discover new content.
You can also submit your feed to other sites, like StumbleUpon and Reddit, to reach a wider audience. You don’t have to submit your feed to every podcast directory or website.
Pick a few directories that you think your target audience would subscribe to. You can also add your RSS feed to your podcast website and encourage your listeners to subscribe.
How to Add Your Show’s RSS Feed To Apple Podcasts
Adding your show’s RSS feed to Apple Podcasts shouldn’t be daunting. Follow these simple steps;
Step 1: Find a host to publish your podcast
Step 2: Get your podcast RSS feed from the podcast host you’re using
Step 3: Create a new Apple ID for your shows
Step 4: Log in to Apple Podcasts Connect and add your shows
How to Add Your Show’s RSS Feed to Spotify
Adding podcasts to Spotify is also pretty easy once you understand the basics (which we have explained in this guide). Follow these steps to add your show’s RSS feed to Spotify;
Step 1: Check to ensure your podcast meets the podcast feed requirements
Step 2: Create your Spotify account and accept the terms of service
Step 3: Enter your RSS feed link and then verify that the podcast is yours
Step 4: Enter Podcast information
Step 5: Check that everything is OK, and then submit the podcast
Related: How To Get Your Podcast Listed On Google Play
An RSS feed is a great way to grow your podcast’s audience and get new listeners. Once you’ve created the feed, submit it to own podcast directories and encourage your listeners to subscribe. With a properly configured RSS feed, you can get new listeners and grow your podcast’s audience.
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