12 Steps to Launch your Podcast with SoundCloud


Update May 2015 – SoundCloud have now opened up their podcasting service to everyone.

Thinking of launching a podcast? Do you have a podcast already? Have you thought of hosting your podcast on SoundCloud? Although there are a few disadvantages when compared to the likes of LibSyn, there are some big advantages in using SoundCloud. In this article, I tell you how to get started with your podcast and how you can use SoundCloud to host and boost your podcast.

Why SoundCloud?

Soundcloud

You could think of SoundCloud as the YouTube of sound. As well as a place for people to host their sounds (music, podcasts, sound clips) it’s also a place to share, collaborate and comment. It’s got a social networking aspect to it. This has a huge advantage to podcasters, because you can grow a community around your podcast and extend its reach- with your audience sharing and liking episodes. It’s also easy to embed soundcloud episodes into your blog posts using the Soundcloud player. As it uses HTML5 it displays on smartphones, tablets and computers and you can even customize the look and feel.

SoundCloud Plans

Finally, you can upload unlimited episodes with the SoundCloud unlimited plan. It’s not quite unlimited, but I think almost everyone would struggle to upload more than the limit of 30hrs per week and 2Gb per track! When you compare the pricing with other providers it’s amazing value. You also get some very detailed analytics, especially with the unlimited plan. That includes the number of plays, likes, comments, reposts and downloads as well as the location (country and city) of the listeners and the page that the episode was listened on.

SoundCloud Analytics

The downsides

soundcloud-for-podcasters
So, why aren’t many podcasters using SoundCloud despite all these advantages?

It’s basically down to the following disadvantages:

Problem 1: Just embedding the SoundCloud player into your posts doesn’t give you a podcast feed.

It’s easy to assume that just embedding a SoundCloud track in a blog post or page gives you a podcast. But it doesn’t. Your podcast subscribers need a feed to subscribe to. If subscribers use your blog or website’s RSS feed, their podcast app won’t see any podcast tracks because the SoundCloud player doesn’t link to an mp3 file. Podcasting feeds need to link to the audio file for each episode as an “enclosure”, and unfortunately SoundCloud doesn’t offer that out of the box. However, there is a way round this which I will cover later.

Problem 2: You have to apply for the podcasting plan which is in beta

Update – the Soundcloud podcasting service is now open to all. However, you might not want to use their podcast feed service (see problem 3). I’ll leave the following for posterity…

Technically you don’t have to apply for the podcasting beta since there is a workaround to get a link to your mp3 files, but it’s still worth applying. The podcasting service from SoundCloud has been in beta for well over a year now. That’s an eternity when it comes to the social web! I did ask them about this, and they just replied to say that they are working on it:

For the time being, you have to apply, and wait for them to review each one. They review each one individually, but this can take time:

Problem 3: The RSS feed that SoundCloud give you is separate to your blog or website

The SoundCloud podcasting service gives you a pretty useless RSS feed. It’s useless in my opinion, because you need a podcast feed which is associated with your blog and website. A podcast feed hosted on your website means that listeners will be directed to your website and not your SoundCloud profile. The reason you’re applying for the podcasting service is so you can access your tracks as mp3 files, which brings me on to…

problem 4: It’s very hard to get a link to the mp3 file

SoundCloud make it very hard to access your mp3 files. This is absolute madness and I have no idea why they do this. Once you are on the podcast service, the mp3 files are accessible but only via your RSS feed. You could search through your RSS feed and extract it that way, or you could use a little tool that I’ve developed called the SoundCloud MP3 Extractor. More about that later!

But, It’s still worth it!

Despite all these disadvantages I still feel SoundCloud is worth using. I don’t expect to convince all podcasters out there, but it does work and you can receive all the benefits of SoundCloud. Here is how:

#1 Create a SoundCloud account

Soundcloud

If you haven’t already created a SoundCloud account, you can do so. You can start with a free account, but if you are serious, upgrade to the pro or unlimited plan.

#2 Get a decent microphone

Blue Yeti Microphone

I’m not a sound expert, but since I trained as a musician I do have a good ear and wanted to achieve decent sound quality without breaking the bank. The Blue Yeti Microphone* ticked all those boxes and there are plenty of podcasters who use this microphone with stunning results. It’s a USB microphone, so you can plug it straight into your laptop, desktop or tablet. It’s a little over $100, so it’s not exactly cheap, but you’ll get a lot for your money. A decent microphone like this is your first step. You may want to look into microphone stands, pop shields and more. That’s out of the scope of this article, but the Podcaster Answer Man has all the answers!  View Blue Yeti Microphone on Amazon*.

#3 Get recording software

Audacity
Everyone will have different views here, but you can’t go wrong with Audacity. It ain’t pretty, but it’s fairly easy to use and it’s free and open source! If you happen to be an Adobe Creative Cloud subscriber, then you could use Adobe Audition. Mac users could consider Garage Band.

skype

If you are interviewing someone remotely then Skype is your friend. You’ll need an add-on to record the interview, and for that I recommend Total Recorder (for PC) or Call Recorder for Skype (for Mac)

#4 Get Music

This is optional, but having a professional start and finish to the podcast usually includes some music. Be careful here and make sure you have a licence for the music you are using, or you have permission or it’s royalty free. A good place to start for free music is the Free Music Archive. Another option is to get in touch with some artists on SoundCloud and ask them if they would be ok with you using their track for your podcast. They may refuse or ask for a fee, but sometimes you might find that they are happy for a section to be used for free.

#5 Get Voice-overs

voice-over-narration

It used to be the case that commissioning a voice-over artist for your podcast would cost you serious money. Well, thanks to web sites such as Fiverr, this is no longer the case. For my Seriously Social News podcast I ordered two gigs from Fiverr – a male and a female voice-over. I gave them a script and within a couple of days I got my mp3 files- each costing only $5!

There are lots of voice-over gigs on Fiverr, just make sure you have a listen and check their rating. Send them your script- make it clear and explain any words that are unusual. Some artists provide “gig extras” such as giving you it in wav format, or recording it in a higher quality. Have a look and see what you can find. Here is an example of one of the full recordings I received for my podcast:

And here is the other one from Peter Baker, who I subsequently realised lives in the next village to me!

#6 Record your first podcast

Now that you’ve got all your equipment you can get on with recording your podcast. How you go about doing this is up to you. It’s often good to have a guest on the show, so you could invite a work colleague or an interesting guest. You could also invite someone via Skype or Google Hangouts and record the interview that way. Once you’ve done this, upload it on to SoundCloud and start promoting it. You can also embed the SoundCloud player in your blog posts. As I’ve previously mentioned, this is technically not a podcast yet, because you don’t have a podcast feed.

#7 Apply for the SoundCloud Podcasting Beta

Update – as the Soundcloud podcasting service is now open to all, you no longer need to apply for the podcasting beta! Move on to #8

Now that you have your first podcast or two, it’s time to apply for the podcast beta. First of all, have a read of this short article entitled “Can I podcast with SoundCloud?”  Once you are ready, you can fill in the SoundCloud Podcast Application Form. Check the box for “I have a SoundCloud profile, and I have uploaded at least one full episode”.

Unfortunately it may take some time for your application to be processed since they manually check each one. The main reason for this is down to copyright. If you’re still waiting after a few weeks, do contact them. They are quite a friendly bunch. You can do this via Twitter (@SCSupport) or the contact form. It helps if you are a SoundCloud Pro Unlimited customer as you will get priority help.

Apply for SoundCloud Podcasting Beta

#8 Install SoundCloud Shortcode

SoundCloud Shortcode WordPress Plugin

 

While you are waiting for SoundCloud to accept you, you can start making your blog or website podcast ready. I recommend adding the SoundCloud Shortcode WordPress plugin. It’s developed by Soundcloud and allows you to copy in a simple shortcode to embed your Soundcloud tracks. You can see this process in step #10.

#9 Install Blubrry PowerPress

PowerPress WordPress Plugin

 

To convert your feed into a proper podcast feed and the ability to customise all the settings, I’d recommend the PowerPress Podcasting plugin from Blubrry. To be honest it’s a little overkill, but after a lot of research it seemed the best plugin for the job. Install the plugin and then go to PowerPress->Settings in your WordPress dashboard.

PowerPress Options

I’d recommend checking “Category Podcasting” in Advanced Options. This means you can create a dedicated podcasting feed for a specific category in your blog. You could call this category “podcast” for example, and the podcast category feed would be the podcast feed you’d give out to your potential listeners. Now, click on “configure podcast categories”.

PowerPress Category for Podcast

Now choose your podcast category and add podcast settings to this. Although you’ll get a page with a bewildering array of options, you won’t need to worry too much about any of these for now. Just save the options and your feed will be ready. Your feed URL will be listed on the page (as in the screenshot above).

#10 Extract MP3s

Share SoundCloud

 

With your SoundCloud account, you can now embed your MP3s. The problem is that Soundcloud hide the links to your MP3s. It frustrated me so much that I ended up building my own tool to extract the MP3. It’s now very easy. Before Soundcloud made the podcasting service available to all, I had two extractors, but I’ve now made it a bit easier for you. This tool extracts the MP3 file from any SoundCloud track. All you need to do is paste the URL of the Soundcloud track page:


SoundCloud MP3 Extractor II

To obtain MP3s from all tracks

by Ian Anderson Gray

#11 Add MP3s and embed SoundCloud

Now go to your blog post for your podcast episode. You can paste in the SoundCloud WordPress shortcode in the editor.

Embed Soundcloud Shortcode into WordPress post

Now scroll down to the Podcast Episode window and paste the MP3 link (the one you got from the SoundCloud MP3 Extractor) into the Media URL box. Click verify and it should add the file. If it does not, I found if I played the MP3 file first (in another window), it added without any problems.
Add MP3

#12 Apply to iTunes

iTUnes

After you have a few episodes under your belt you can now apply to have your podcast added to iTunes. I personally don’t use iTunes, but a lot of people do, and it’s an absolute must if you want your podcast to reach the ears of the majority of podcast listeners. You can read all about the requirements on the Apple Making a Podcast page. PowerPress should have made your feed into the correct format for iTunes to handle, but you will need to make sure you add some artwork. Your artwork needs to be in square format and at least 1400×1400 pixels. That’s pretty large, so you may need to create something new. Once you’ve got your image, go to PowerPress settings and click the artwork tab (or if you created a category feed, edit your podcast category feed). Add your images and then click Save Changes. You can now submit your podcast to iTunes. This requires you to have iTunes installed on your computer.

Other Resources

If you want to read a bit further, have a look at the following articles:

Conclusion

Now you can use SoundCloud with all its advantages on your WordPress blog and have a dedicated podcast feed and have it submitted to iTunes. I’ve not gone into the finer details, but hopefully that is enough to get you started. But are you convinced by using SoundCloud or would you prefer to use an alternative such as LibSyn? Let me know in the comments below, and if you’ve just launched your podcast- tell me!

 

 

 


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About Ian Anderson Gray

Ian is a speaker, coach, social media consultant, web developer & Partner of Select Performers. In real life he is a husband, dad and geek and is rather partial to tea, coffee & Indian cooking. Find out more



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52 Comments on "12 Steps to Launch your Podcast with SoundCloud"

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John
Guest
2 months 28 days ago

Does this method allow you to change the “release date” in your feed so that I can migrate old podcasts to soundcloud and keep the old release dates, as opposed to having them all be released at once on the day I migrate? If that makes sense…

Thanks!

Aline Coutinho Cabral Garcia Dias
Guest
Aline Coutinho Cabral Garcia Dias
7 months 1 day ago

Um corretor de imóveis localizados no Rio de Janeiro, Aline é bem versado na economia brasileira e aumento da demanda por imóveis para alugar em toda a cidade .

Aline Coutinho Cabral Garcia Dias

Dan
Guest
Dan
8 months 25 days ago

Great article! I’m confused why a soundcloud feed URL is such a bad thing, though? Im a heavy podcast user myself via iTunes, and I’ve no clue what the feed URLs are for the podcasts I listen to. iTunes doesn’t show them to you, so why is it such a bad thing if your feed URL is SoundCloud.com/xyz ? The added hassle of the blueberry plugin and extracting the MP3 could be negated by just using the SoundCloud URL. I feel like I’m missing something..? Cheers. Dan

Nadja
Member
8 months 29 days ago

How hard I seems to try it wont work with itunes, I have done for what I can tell, everything you have said in this article. But even so, it says on itunes when I copy and paste the RSS url where it says I should “We had diffivulty downloadingg episodes from your feed”. And i have done what soundcloud’s help site told me, but it still wont work. Please help!

Pablo
Guest
9 months 16 days ago

Never mind, it seems I used this tip to find the .mp3 location. Maybe Soundcloud changed the location? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odrRsvPi52s

Pablo
Guest
9 months 16 days ago

Hi Ian,

I’ve been using your extractor successfully for a while but seem to have a problem. Although my podcasts appear in iTunes (except for my latest episode), when you click on them, the audio files do not play.

When I click on the direct link to the mp3 file on the Soundcloud server, the link provided by your extractor when I have inputted the Soundcloud page link, it says SERVER NOT FOUND.

I’ve been thinking, perhaps this is not the ideal way to be put uploading podcasts in terms of stability for the long-term? Maybe Soundcloud never really sanctioned this method or is there some kind of other problem? The files work fine on Soundcloud itself. Thanks.

trackback

[…] The same thing happened earlier when I wrote BOOM, I’m Now Podcasting!, That was when I just launched up Podcast #001 : How Could ‘YES’ Perfectly Land You a Better Life?. I mentioned in my article couple more resources at the end of my article to give my reader more variety of details about podcasting and how to launch up your podcast. One of those resources I mentioned was  12 Steps to Launch your Podcast with SoundCloud – Ian Anderson Gray. […]

Lisa S
Guest
Lisa S
9 months 21 days ago
I have been planning to use the soundcloud RSS feed ran through PodTrac’s enhanced feed, but I was going to create a url from my domain and redirect it to the enhanced feed’s url, so that I can submit my own url to iTunes. Would that work or should I go the route you suggest? And if so, what are the advantages/disadvantages? For clarification, I’d have a url like rssfeed.mywebsite.com that points to the podtrac rss link (which uses sound cloud’s rss to populate but adds more tracking. I would submit rssfeed.mywebsite.com to iTunes, stitcher, etc. I would host my website/blog on http://www.mywebsite.com and blog.mywebsite.com, and I could use podtrac’s player in my posts there for people to play directly from the posts. Would that accomplish the same thing? The only disadvantage I can see is that it takes a night for the podtrac’s enhanced feed to pick up the episode from sound cloud, so I’d have to post the actual blog post the next day when the link from podtrac was ready, but I am okay with that, as my subscribers would get it as soon as PodTrac picked it up that night. Basically a one-day delay from when… Read more »
playn_jayn
Member
10 months 2 days ago

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! What an awesome guide! You’ve taken something unbelievably difficult and made it MUCH EASIER. I still can’t believe how many steps are required to create a podcast, but we’re getting there, thanks to this guide.

Kevin_VFB
Member
10 months 13 days ago

Well, I’ll be honest. I started with SoundCloud, moved to Libsyn and now moving back to SoundCloud. The biggest stumbling block is the .mp3 url that SoundCloud doesn’t provide. The extractor tool solved the issue…but truthfully, how long is that available? websites die all the time.
Wish there were a way to download the tool. Regardless, thank you.

The big reason behind my move to SoundCloud is the comparisons. For $15, with SoundCloud you get unlimited upload/unlimited download plus full range of stats including countries and by city breakdown.
Libsyn limits upload to 250MB/month and their stats are VERY limited to basically just daily downloads/day/week/month for that plan.

So, thanks for the tool. Is there a downloadable version or do I have to bookmark this article for every time I upload a new podcast?

Christian Perez
Guest
1 year 4 days ago

Thank you for the Soundcloud tool, I’ve been looking for something like that for a while now. Works beautifully!

Scott Garza
Guest
Scott Garza
1 year 2 months ago

Good information. I feel Soundcloud is one of the trending music sharing app which allows users to upload, record, promote and share their original created sounds. I found it as interesting app. This information would surely helped me out.

Soundcloud Like App

trackback

[…] – How to Start a Podcast Step by Step Guide – Pat Flynn. – 5 Reasons Your Small Business Should Start a Podcast Today – Dan Newman. – How to Start Your Own Podcast – WikiHow. – Podcasting 101 Guide How to Make a Podcast – BuzzSrout. – Start a Podcast That Attracts Thousands of Listeners in Just 5 Simple Steps – Jon Nastor. – 12 Steps to Launch your Podcast with SoundCloud – Ian Anderson Gray. […]

Glen Donohue
Guest
1 year 2 months ago

also file size and deration did not auto fill

Glen Donohue
Guest
1 year 2 months ago

hello this is a great tool to get the mp3 file soundcloud should not make this so hard had a problem the file looks to be working on the blog as it did play but is says Error occurred obtaining media information. what does this mean?
FYI
SoundCloud for Podcasters

Sign up for a free SoundCloud account to immediately start hosting your podcast with SoundCloud and distributing your sounds via RSS to your favorite podcast apps. You no longer need to apply to have beta access to podcasting features. All creators can find their account’s RSS feed URL and adjust channel settings on the “Content” tab of the Settings page.

trackback

[…] Services such as Libsyn, Castmate or Podomatic offer a complete solution for a small fee. You can even use Soundcloud for podcasting. […]

Borja Obeso
Guest
1 year 3 months ago

Thanks for this awesome tool. Did this stop working recently? it’s not extracting the files.

Dennis Does Cricket
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

My podcast is hosted with Soundcloud. 65 episodes of average 45 minutes each and over 45k downloads. The Rss feed works fine as I’m linked on iTunes, tune in, Stitcher, etc. I love the soundcloud widget players. They sit perfectly on my website and drive back catalogue listens. For the price, it’s excellent. What would make Libsyn any better except for the emotive fact that it’s been around longer?

Ray @PodcastHelper
Guest
1 year 5 months ago
I still wouldn’t recommend SoundCloud for podcast hosting unless it was a special case where you produce so much content that you are priced out of a better host like Libsyn or Blubrry and the unlimited plan was your *only* option. That said, I love how you pointed out the glaring negatives of SoundCloud which provides a nice balanced assessment of the service. And the tool you created is really cool, nice work. Libsyn and Blubrry win simply because they are dedicated, proven podcast hosts. You won’t find all the tools and control you need at any other service. They are built by podcasters specifically for podcasting and have been in the space since the beginning. I do actually like Soundcloud but I use it differently. I produce a lot of audio content that I do not want to have taking up space on my Libsyn account. SoundCloud gives me a great option to put these types of files online, with a great looking player that works across social media while still providing some basic stats. And in my case the free account accommodates this use. To me this is the best combo. A trusted, robust podcast hosting solution (Libsyn… Read more »
trackback

[…] 461521338222 SHARESThinking of launching a podcast? Do you have a podcast already? Have you thought of hosting your podcast on SoundCloud? Although there are a few disadvantages when compared to the likes of LibSyn, there are some big advantages in … Continued  […]

Dominic Labriola
Guest
Dominic Labriola
1 year 7 months ago

This was awesome! I’m having an issue with the extracted file though still – it’s giving me the error message “The requested URL returned error: 403 Forbidden” Is this a problem or will it still work? Thank you Ian!

Ashley Faulkes
Guest
Ashley Faulkes
1 year 8 months ago

I use Libsyn, but am not a huge fan. I pay too much for what I use (which at the moment is zero) I would consider moving, not sure how that works with the old podcasts. Maybe in the new year. As for the feed, in any case I used Bluberry and set it up separately in the blog. So it is really just storage.

Rob @ podcast411
Guest
Rob @ podcast411
1 year 8 months ago

Libsyn is best used as more than a place to just host your media files. The Libsyn feed is much more reliable than a feed on wordpress. You can get your own smartphone apps for your show (iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8, Windows 8) You can connect your libsyn account to publish automatically to Facebook and Twitter – and have in stream players for both services. We support publishing to Linked in, Tumblr, Blogger and directly to WordPress. Libsyn gives you the tools you need to best promote your brand. If you have any questions on libsyn please contact me – rob at libsyn dot com

Dennis Does Cricket
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

I don’t see what is listed that Soundcloud doesn’t offer?

Rob @ podcast411
Guest
Rob @ podcast411
1 year 5 months ago

– Hosting of not just Audio – but Also Video and PDF files as Episodes.
– Creation of an iOS, Android and Windows Phone 8 App.
– Support for publishing posts directly on WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger.
– Full control of your brand and creation of Your own webpage with your own custom URL you can bring in.
– Ad stitching tools.
– User Agent Data for Stats
– Premium Subscription offering for users.
And more….

Dennis Does Cricket
Guest
1 year 5 months ago
I’m not trying to be negative, but for the 99% of podcast creators, many of those items are very very niche. 1) Hosting of video is great if you don’t trust or like YouTube. However, as a content creator, it is the 2nd biggest search engine in the world behind google. 2) Soundcloud provides code for track or back catalogue widgets that for the majority of users are more than adequate. In fact, as an end user, they are well known and understood which is also a key consideration. 3) Support for direct posting. Very minor benefit. Most people who produce podcast who have a website prefer to control the show notes page themselves rather than blindly post a media player with no show notes. 4) Ad stitching – Necessary feature for 99% of users? 5) user agent data? Not sure what this means, but Soundcloud user data again segments to a deep enough level for the majority (location, when, how they listen, etc) 6) Premium subscription – Not sure what this means? My point is that as a podcaster with a decent following across multiple platforms, a catalogue of over 65 episodes and a website that has had over… Read more »
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