There are many different destinations that audiences can listen to your podcast. As a podcaster, you want to make sure your podcast is available everywhere your audience is. The key is that one distribution point (your podcast host) is responsible for spreading your podcast across the internet via your RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed.
Your RSS feed should be available in a few key places. Apple Podcasts is generally accepted as the destination where a majority of your audience will listen to your podcast. At least 65% of podcast listening is done through Apple. What about the population that doesn’t own an Apple device? Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Cast, Tune In are among the more popular podcast destinations for Android users. Jay “PodVader” Soderberg, the Head of Content at BlogTalkRadio/Spreaker, recommends these destinations for podcasters:
- Apple Podcasts – Not just because it’s the largest source of listens, but because other listening apps will pull the RSS feed from Apple to feed their services
- Stitcher – a destination that is both Apple and Android friendly
- Tune In – Amazon “Alexa” powered devices pull podcasts from this destination. Smart speakers are a key audience listening growth point. Spreaker has developed an Alexa skill for podcasters on the Spreaker platform.
- Aha Radio – Part of the Harmon group, Aha Radio’s app is already in car dashboards – another key area for podcast listening growth.
- Your own website – BlogTalkRadio/Spreaker provide embeddable players that Content Creators can feature on their websites and social media posts.
The key is that all of these destinations are fed from one distribution point (the podcast hosting site) so that all listens are accounted for and presented to the Content Creator.
Falling into the trap of submitting your show to many platforms can create what is called a split feed. A split feed is when another platform imports your podcast to their servers and creates another feed with duplicate content, then syndicates this content from that platform. Often times, Content Creators will create accounts on multiple podcast hosting sites and this causes multiple distribution points. Creating a split feed will cause you to lose control of your podcast statistics and monetization efforts very quickly. When you have one podcast feed that syndicates to all of the listening destinations, you can track your listens in one place, gauge your audience more efficiently, and monetize on a more effective scale.
One area that can be confusing about split feeds are listening destinations that cache your RSS feed. The best way to describe what “caching” is: the listening destination is recording your RSS feed and then broadcasting the recorded version of your podcast to their audience. Two of the biggest listening destination that do this are Google Play and Spotify. Caching creates a split feed because you have your original feed being listened to everywhere else and the recorded feed only being listened to on Google Play or Spotify (for example). Since your recorded version is being broadcasted, there’s no way for those episodes to be updated with dynamic ads, so only the original ad included on the feed (if there was one) will be heard on those cached listening destinations. Also, since the feed is being cached, unless those listening destinations have special arrangements with your podcast hosting site, you can’t get any credit for the listens on those destinations. If growing your audience is your goal, doing so on a cached listening site will not help you in that goal.
In conclusion, to avoid splitting your feed, distribute your podcast to many different destinations from one singular distribution point. Set goals for your podcast and understand what destinations will help you achieve those goals. Once you do that, there’s nothing stopping you from becoming a successful podcaster.