Publishing your Podcast


Imagine your podcast as a beacon, guiding listeners towards your ministry’s message. In this lesson, we’ll learn how to make that beacon shine brightly. We’ll cover building your lighthouse (your hosting platform), charting your beacon’s reach (submitting to directories), designing an eye-catching beam (artwork), and guiding listeners to your beacon (writing engaging show notes). By the end, you’ll be ready to light the way and share your ministry’s message with a wider audience.

1. Building Your Lighthouse

Your podcast hosting platform is the lighthouse from which your ministry’s beacon will shine. It’s where you store your audio files, generate your RSS feed (which allows your show to be listed on directories), andoften gain access to valuable analytics and promotion tools. Here’s a breakdown of key factors to consider:

  • Features: Storage: How much monthly upload space do you need based on episode length and frequency? Analytics: What kind of stats are important to you (downloads, listener demographics, etc.)? Distribution: Does the platform streamline submission to major directories? Website Integration: Some platforms offer website creation or embeddable players.
  • Pricing:
    • Free Plans: Often have limitations on storage or features. A good starting point for experimentation.
    • Paid Plans: Unlock more storage, advanced analytics, and additional features. Tiered pricing is common.
  • Ease of Use: A user-friendly interface is crucial, especially for beginners.
  • Support: Responsive customer support is a bonus, particularly if you’re new to podcasting.

Popular Podcast Hosting Platforms

  • Buzzsprout: Popular for its intuitive interface and useful features. It offers both free and paid plans.
  • Podbean: Another user-friendly option with a range of plans to suit different budgets.
  • Captivate: Known for its powerful analytics and marketing tools. Pricier than some others, but feature-rich.
  • Simplecast: Offers advanced features for professional podcasters and those looking to monetize.
  • Caters to podcasters who want multiple shows under one account and offers detailed analytics.

Ministry Considerations:

  • Budget: If your ministry is just starting out, consider platforms with free plans to experiment, upgrading as your audience grows.
  • Audience Size: For very large podcasts, ensure the platform can handle your storage and bandwidth needs.
  • Accessibility: Some platforms offer transcription features, which significantly improve accessibility for those with hearing impairments.

2. Charting Your Beacon’s Reach

Getting your podcast listed on major directories is crucial for discoverability. While your hosting platform might streamline some of this process, understanding the basics is important. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The Importance of Directories: Think of each directory as a sea chart, guiding potential listeners to your beacon’s light.
    • Apple Podcasts: One of the most popular podcast directories.
    • Spotify: A rapidly growing platform for podcast listeners.
    • Google Podcasts: Integrated with Google search results, boosting findability.
    • Other Options: Stitcher, Amazon Music, TuneIn, and smaller directories
  • Your RSS Feed: This unique link is generated by your podcast hosting platform. Think of it as your podcast’s address on the internet. You’ll need this to submit your show.
  • How to Submit:
    • Hosting Platforms: Many platforms offer tools or guides for simplifying submissions.
    • Manually: You can typically submit your RSS feed directly to each directory. Find their specific instructions via their websites.
  • Approval Time: It can take anywhere from a few hours to several days for your podcast to appear on directories after submission.

Ministry Considerations:

  • Keywords: When submitting your show, use keywords that accurately describe your podcast to help potential listeners find you in searches.
  • Broad Reach: Submitting to multiple directories expands your potential audience and makes it convenient for people to listen on their preferred platform.

Practical Tips:

  • Complete Profile: Fill in your podcast description, artwork, and category information thoroughly across all directories.
  • Patience: Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see overnight success. Building an audience takes time.

3. Designing Your Beacon’s Beam

Your podcast artwork is like the beam of your beacon. It plays a significant role in attracting listeners and setting the tone for your show. Here’s what to consider:

Design Basics

  • Image Size: Most directories, including Apple Podcasts, require square artwork with a minimum resolution of 1400×1400 pixels, up to 3000×3000 pixels.
  • Readability: Your title and any additional text should be easily legible, even at small sizes.
  • Visual Appeal: Choose colors, fonts, and imagery that reflect the theme and mood of your podcast.
  • Branding: Maintain consistency with your ministry’s overall visual style, if applicable.

DIY Tools vs. Outsourcing

  • DIY Options:
    • Canva: Offers user-friendly templates and design tools.
    • Photoshop, GIMP (Free), etc.: For advanced image editing if you have design skills.
  • Outsourcing:
    • Fiverr, Upwork: Find freelance designers specializing in podcast artwork.
    • 99designs: Platform for running design contests.

Ministry Considerations

  • Target Audience: Design artwork that appeals to your ideal listener.
  • Message: Can your artwork subtly convey a core theme of your ministry?
  • Accessibility: Ensure high contrast between text and background for visual clarity.

Additional Tips

  • Keep it Simple: Avoid excessive clutter or overly complex designs.
  • Test at Small Sizes: Ensure your artwork looks good even when displayed as a thumbnail.

4. Guiding Listeners to Your Beacon

Show notes are the written companions to your podcast episodes. Think of your show notes as a treasure map, guiding listeners to the heart of your beacon’s message. While essential for providing basic information, they can also be a potent tool for engagement and outreach. Here’s how to make your show notes more compelling:

Core Elements:

  • Episode Title & Number: Clear identification of your content.
  • Brief Summary: A concise overview of the episode’s main themes or topics.
  • Timestamps: Especially helpful for longer episodes – allows listeners to jump to specific sections.
  • Links & Resources: Mention any websites, books, or other resources discussed in the episode.
  • Calls to Action: Encourage listeners to take an action (leave a review, subscribe, visit your ministry website, etc.)

Getting Creative

  • Narrative Style: Instead of dry bullet points, craft your summary like a mini-story, capturing the essence of the episode.
  • Quotes: Include 2-3 impactful quotes from the episode to pique interest.
  • Behind-the-Scenes Insights: Share a ‘bonus’ tidbit related to the episode that wasn’t included in the audio.
  • Visuals: Embed images, graphs, or even short videos related to your content (for your website show notes).

Ministry Focus

  • Sermons: Include a key Bible verse discussed, or points for further reflection.
  • Testimonials: Offer a prayer or words of encouragement related to the shared testimony.
  • Events: Provide detailed information about upcoming ministry events (dates, times, how to sign up).

SEO Considerations

  • Keywords: Thoughtfully integrate keywords relevant to your episode content and ministry. This can improve discoverability in search results.

Extra Tip: Repurpose your show notes as social media posts or even a blog article for your ministry website!

5. Launch Strategy (Optional)

While you can certainly release your podcast quietly, a strategic launch can build anticipation and attract a larger initial audience. Here are a few ideas:

  • Build Anticipation: Let social media be the signal flares that draw attention to the launch of your ministry’s beacon.
    • Teaser Trailer: Create a short audio trailer promoting your upcoming podcast.
    • Social Media Sneak Peeks: Share behind-the-scenes glimpses, quotes from guests, or intriguing snippets related to your first few episodes.
    • Collaborations: Partner with influential people in your niche to cross-promote your podcast.
  • Soft Launch vs. Big Premiere:
    • Soft Launch: Release the first 1-3 episodes unannounced. This lets you work out any kinks and gather initial feedback.
    • Big Premiere: Plan a specific launch date, promoting your podcast heavily with a focus on gaining subscribers.
  • Contests & Giveaways: Consider running a launch-related contest to generate excitement and encourage engagement.

Ministry Considerations

  • Community Involvement: Get members of your congregation excited about the podcast and encourage them to share it within their networks.
  • Timing: Align your launch with any relevant ministry events, seasons, or special campaigns.

Key Takeaway: It’s not essential to have a grand launch strategy. The most important thing is to create consistent, high-quality content that resonates with your audience.

Now It’s Your Time to Write

You’ve put in the hard work of creating your podcast. Let’s turn those efforts into action and prepare for launch! Reflect on these questions:

  1. Hosting Exploration: Based on your needs, list 2-3 podcast hosting platforms you’ll research further. Note one feature from each that appeals to you.
  2. Directory Dive: Which 3 podcast directories are the most important for your ministry to be listed on?
  3. Beam Design: Jot down 2-3 visual elements (colors, imagery, etc.) you want to incorporate into your beacon’s beam (artwork).
  4. Show Note Spark: For your first episode, what’s one intriguing quote or behind-the-scenes tidbit you could include in the show notes?
  5. Launch Brainstorm: Would a soft launch or a big premiere better suit your podcast? List two ways you could promote your launch.

Remember, start with small, achievable steps. The most important thing is to take action and share your ministry’s message with the world!