iOS 8, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, the software that powers all iPod Touches, iPhones and iPads will be released today. Apple’s proprietary Podcasts app will be automatically bundled with iOS 8. (Previously, users had to manually add the Podcasts app to their devices.) This means a whole new crop of users will be exposed to the app, and potentially exposed to podcasting for the first time. Make sure your show is easy to find and subscribe to within Apple’s podcasting ecosystem with these tips.
Ensure your podcast is discoverable in the iTunes directory: In order for your podcast to be listed in the iTunes Store (and in turn the Podcasts app), the iTunes-specific tags in your RSS feed must be properly configured. It’s likely that they were correct when you first submitted your show to iTunes. But sometimes, moving web hosts, changing publishing platforms or just random, unexplainable things can alter your RSS feed. And while your feed is still technically working with iTunes, details such as keywords or episode descriptions may have been lost. If your show is currently listed in the iTunes Store, take a look at its listing. Is the show album art up to date (current recommended spec is 1400×1400 pixels)? Is your show’s description still accurate? Are your show titles displaying correctly? If anything looks incorrect, check the iTunes tags in your RSS feed and make the necessary fixes.
Link to iTunes from your website, even if your show is not listed in the iTunes Store: It’s good advice to link to all distribution channels where your podcast can be found and iTunes is no exception. You can get the URL of your listing in the iTunes Store by going to the show within the iTunes application and right-clicking the show’s album art and then clicking the “Copy Link” option from the popup menu. You can then link to that URL directly from a page or sidebar on your website. If your show isn’t yet listed in iTunes, you can create an iTunes protocol link by taking the direct link to your podcast’s RSS feed and instead of starting the link with http:// start it with itpc:// like this: itpc://podcasternews.com/feed/podcast/ Having these links in place will allow iOS users to subscribe to your podcast with one tap on your website.
Of course if your iTunes feed is working properly, you’re all set! If not, follow these tips and your feed should be back on track in no time. It’s hard to say if having the Podcasts app as a mandatory addition to iOS will mean a new gold rush of podcast listeners but as long as your iTunes feed is working properly, you’ll be sure to gain whatever benefits this new development may bring.