What is an RSS feed and how to set it up the right way in Castos

The RSS feed contains your podcast’s episodes, descriptions, cover image, and information required by distribution channels like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, etc. RSS feeds are most often open and can be accessed by anyone.

All podcasts use an open distribution technology known as RSS. Your RSS feed is a formatted text file that is read by distribution sources like Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Podcast, and others. Castos automatically creates a valid RSS feed for your podcast that you can submit directly to any platform that reads an RSS feed URL. 

The RSS feed is the place these podcasting directories look to learn about your show and it contains the Title, Description, Keywords, Categories, Cover Image as well as information about each episode. In Castos, you control all of these settings under Podcast Settings Feed Details. If you are using the Castos Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin, you will control those settings in your WordPress dashboard, not in your Castos Hosting Account.

✐ Note Castos does not automatically distribute your RSS feed. You will need to create an account with the services where you want your show to appear. But once set up, your podcast episodes will publish automatically.

Setting Up Your RSS Feed

1.) Step One: Feed Details==

To set up your podcast RSS feed in Castos first create your first Podcast by clicking the Add Podcast button in the Podcast area of your Castos dashboard. If you already have a podcast (or several) you can edit your podcast details by clicking the Edit Podcast link. Here you will be able to enter the details for your podcast. To maximize the SEO value of your podcast on Apple Podcasts and other podcasting directories it's best to include as much detail and information in the feed as possible. Things like keywords and good, relevant descriptions of your show will increase the discoverability of your show on these platforms.

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2.) Step Two: Cover Image

Your podcast cover image has size specifications set by Apple Podcasts or your RSS feed will not validate. The image must be:

  • a perfect square
  • between 1400 x 1400px and 3000 x 3000px
  • file size less than 1MB
  • RGB colorspace 
  • jpg or png
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The most common reason for podcast submissions not being accepted by Apple Podcasts is that feed includes artwork that does not meet their specifications.

✐ Note You can change your podcast cover image at any time by coming back to the podcast's feed details. When updating your cover image, it's recommended to change the filename slightly, perhaps with a version number (ie: cover_art_v3.png), so the change in your feed can be identified by the distribution platforms.

3.) Step Three: Categories

One of the best ways for new listeners to find your podcast is by being highly ranked within a category.  

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Apple Podcasts gives you 3 different categories that you can submit your show in.  This gives your show much broader exposure to potential listeners and is a great way to grow your audience.  

Distributing Your Castos RSS Feed

You can find your podcast's RSS feed URL on the Settings → Distribution tab. Once it has been successfully created you can begin to distribute it directly to podcast apps and distribution channels.  Apple Podcasts self-validates your feed when you submit your podcast in your Apple Podcast Connect dashboard. If you have an error there, you will need to troubleshoot why your feed is not working. 

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