SoundCloud is well-known for helping musicians. Over the last year it has exploded for podcasters. Read how you can harness the power of SoundCloud’s social platform for podcast hosting.
Setting up SoundCloud for podcast hosting
Your first consideration is going to be whether you want a free, Pro, or Pro Unlimited account. Look at the differences below.
Free accounts are a good way to start since they offer most of the basic features. Pro accounts offer more in terms of stats tracking, which comes in handy later as your podcast grows in popularity. You can upgrade your account based on your needs, but the best SoundCloud accounts use a paid account.
Building your profile
With your account registered, you can focus on building your profile. Since this is a podcast there are a few key areas to focus on:
- Title: Your podcast’s title should clearly state the field it covers. Your intended audience is more likely to click and listen if they know what to expect. Make it easier for them to discover it by incorporating the search terms they commonly use. Using the word “podcast” in your title also helps target your audience better.
- Profile: The profile description should follow from your title by elaborating further on the nature of your podcast. Christine Blackburn uses such a description for her show Story Worthy.
- Keywords: Use more of the keywords that you have determined from earlier. Find ways to seamlessly blend these keywords into the overall text.
- Bio: You also need to create a bio to serve as an introduction to who you are.
- Links: Arrange your account links with the most popular one at the top. You can also add links to other sites relevant to your podcast.
If you have chosen a Pro or Pro Unlimited account you can put a track or Playlist up in the Spotlight section of your profile. This feature allows you to highlight your best track, or playlist.
Post your first podcast on SoundCloud
Before you upload your first podcast, set up an RSS feed for your listeners to subscribe to. This can be readily done in the Settings panel of your account by checking the RSS feed tab.
You can check that the feed works by adding a test sound and choosing the “Include in RSS feed” option.
To help your would-be listeners find your podcast, put it into the most appropriate category. You can also specify the language that your podcast uses. This helps a lot if you are looking to target a non-English speaking region. Check the Explicit Content tab if needed.
Aside from the basic content settings, you can also tweak the optional ones like:
- Custom feed name: Lets you display a longer podcast title in your RSS feeds
- Custom author name: With this option, you can add a unique byline to your podcast. If kept blank, your account’s display name will be used.
- Email address: Displaying your email address might be required for your feed to show up in some podcast apps.
- Stats service prefix URL: This is where you input the address of your desired 3rd-party stats tracker, which is useful for analyzing your podcast later.
Now that you have the basics of your account set up you can use our SoundCloud Followers Service to get your account off on the right foot. Don’t struggle for your first few episodes with that big fat zero, have your account looking successful today. Maybe one day you will have over 529,000 followers like Shane and Friends:
Uploading your episodes
Posting your podcast episodes goes pretty much the same way as uploading other tracks:
- Click on the Add button to submit your prepared track.
- When creating your track title and description, include keywords that most relate to its contents. These keywords should also be used in the metadata section of the track information.
- Add 2-3 tags to better categorize your episode.
- In the Permissions tab, make the track public and include it in your RSS feed.
- Click Save for the track to be uploaded and get the podcast RSS link in the Content tab of your profile. This will be the one you will submit to RSS aggregator services.
Your first track is now out there in the world. Let’s work on spreading it.
Promoting and distributing your podcast
SoundCloud itself offers plenty of ways to promote your podcast. One tool that you would want to take advantage of is Stations. This feature lets users compile their favorite tracks and view related ones based on these. Think of it as them having their own virtual radio station and your podcast as one of the shows.
Getting people to include your podcast into their Stations is going to be a bit of a challenge. You can start the ball rolling by creating your own station putting your podcast together with other tracks relevant to its contents and share it with your audience. They are more likely to listen to your podcast if it is featured alongside other useful content. The Sift podcast includes tracks coming from notable sources like The Guardian in its station.
Don’t forget to tag and acknowledge the creators of your tracks. They are likely to return the favor and add your show to their own stations. Boosting your podcast episodes with Devumi’s SoundCloud plays service also helps draw listener’s curiosity here.
You can also have your podcasts become promoted content. This new feature lets you advertise your podcast episodes to a larger audience within the site. You do need to be a SoundCloud Premier Partner first before you can apply and get your tracks promoted.
Sharing your podcast outside of SoundCloud
One great thing about using SoundCloud for podcast hosting is that it can be used as a springboard to broadcast your show outside of it. Sharing your podcasts on social media is one of the best ways to attract a wider audience. The site makes this easier to do with dedicated social media buttons:
— The Carve 🍖 (@carvepodcast) July 20, 2017
Just sharing your episode links on social media is not always enough to get people to listen. Draw their interest by adding an intriguing intro or caption to the link. You can also tease your audience about upcoming episodes by sharing things like behind-the-scenes photos, production notes, and other related content.
Promoting your podcast on your website or blog is easy and effective. Simply get the embed code of a particular episode or playlist and put it into your blog post or website page. That will give you the large player which looks like this:
If you have a little bit of coding knowledge you can choose to use the smaller player. Click on the share button, select the small player, and post the code into your HTML:
Create an engaging post which enhances your podcast’s content to increase your visitors’ interest.
Distributing your podcast on iTunes and other media library services
When doing podcast hosting, keep in mind that your audience might want to listen to your show offline. As such, you need to give them the option to just download your episodes. To connect your podcast RSS feed to iTunes:
- Get your RSS feed URL from the Contents Settings page of your SoundCloud account.
- Submit your feed to the iTunes store by pasting the URL in the “Podcast Feed URL” section.
- Follow the subsequent prompts that will appear.
- Once you have completed the submission, wait for the email that your podcast has passed review.
When you have completed these steps, just upload your podcast episodes on SoundCloud and they will automatically appear in your iTunes store page. Submission to other services like Spotify also follows a similar process.
Engaging your podcast audience
Your podcast is the first place where you would want to actively engage your audience. Instead of treating them as passive listeners, get them directly involved in the topic you are talking about. Ask a variety of questions on air and encourage them to give their answers via the comments section. Read these answers along with other comments in your next episode.
Bill Littlefield often dedicates short episodes of his Only A Game Podcast to reading and responding to listener comments:
You can also encourage your listeners to send in their reviews of the show. Just like the questions, you can read some of the reviews and respond to them during your episodes.
Engaging outside your podcast
Aside from the regular means of commenting on your tracks, SoundCloud also has a unique way to send and receive responses: waveform commenting. This is where your listeners can comment directly on the waveform appearing alongside your track. Use this feature to focus the discussion on a specific section of your podcast. An example of a waveform comment is shown below.
You also need to keep the discussion about your podcast episode going after you have posted it. For that, post content that expands on the topic you have already tackled in the episode on social media.
You just know that Kevin Smith has something to say about… Everything. He loves to talk about his various podcasts on Twitter:
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) July 14, 2017
Host your podcasts on SoundCloud and attract listeners
SoundCloud is great for podcast hosting, not just music. To get the most out of the platform for your podcast you need to:
- Build your SoundCloud presence: Be sure to complete your profile information and make it searchable for your audience.
- Make your podcast visible: Optimize your podcast’s information to make them easier to find on and off of SoundCloud.
- Spread the word: Use social media and other channels to share your episodes once they come on air.
- Engage your listeners: Get them actively involved in your show by asking questions and encouraging comments.
Follow these steps and you can soon find yourself hosting a popular podcast on SoundCloud.