Your podcast is like a magazine. You want to get it out to the different locations so consumers can get it every time you hit “Publish”.
How do you set up agreements with all the different places where people might look for your show?
Magazines are shipped to book stores, grocery stores, pharmacies, the dentist's office, and directly to the mailbox of a subscriber. You need to make arrangements with all those places, but you only have to do it once.
The same goes for a podcast RSS feed.
Every time you publish an episode, you want it to go out automatically to those places. You only have to submit your RSS feed to the various destinations once (Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play Music, etc).
Once they approve you, the distribution channel has been set! Now all you have to do is keep printing new editions – I mean releasing new episodes.
There are primarily three types of RSS feeds, although there are many different services that fit under one of the three.
1: Third-party service. I like using third party services for media hosting, but they also provide you with a RSS feed. For example: libsyn.com creates a master feed and even sets up distribution channels for Spotify and iHeart Radio.
A libsyn feed that you submit to various directories looks something like this: http://worthlistening.libsyn.com/rss
Yep. That's it. Inside that short URL is a dynamic list that grows with each published episode. Podcast directories like Overcast and the Podcasts App read the RSS feed, then display it on your device.
Get your first month free at libsyn.com by using “fincon” in the Promo box at checkout.
2: Your website or web host. Most podcasters use WordPress to build their website (although SquareSpace is coming on strong these days). Blubrry created the most popular WordPress plugin for podcasters, called PowerPress. The plugin is free and very powerful. Not only will it create a media player inside a blog post or page, the back-end has all the settings you need for creating a RSS feed and tools to help submit to some of the big podcast directories.
A PowerPress feed can look something like this: http://retirementstartstodayradio.com/feed/podcast
3: A middleman called Feedburner: I no longer recommend using this option, but it's still out there. Feedburner allows you to create a feed based on a feature in your website, like a category tag. But a RSS feed can be created from the same source without having to go through Feedburner, so why add one more link to the chain?
A Feedburner feed looks like this: http://feeds.feedburner.com/pam
You only need to submit your RSS feed to the podcast directories once. RSS feeds are dynamic, meaning they will automatically add your newest episode to the stack. There are pros and cons to each of the services mentioned above, but now you are armed with enough knowledge to make an informed decision.