The Insta-podcast: Phone to Feed, part 1
A client presented me with an interesting challenge: “Gray, I want to be able to just call a number in my phone, talk, and have it show up on a podcast feed.” Sounds simple, right? In a world where content is king and podcasting has been around for over a decade, there’s got to be a simple turnkey edition that will do that, right?
Not so much, as it turns out. There used to be – AudioBoo.com was a prime mover in that world, but it quickly reduced the offered time to the point where podcasts couldn’t really work. Cinch.fm died, Spreaker is out there but is really proprietary about the content, audience, etc…The more I looked, the more I was surprised at how much you had to pay for convenience by surrendering control.
I set about to find a better way. It is, of course, only one better way. There are probably seventeen startups happening as I write this that are planning the very thing I’m talking about.
But this is my way. Or rather, a couple of ways:
- First is the “long-form” podcast which is fairly easy to set up, a little complicated (and requiring either wifi or cel data) to operate, and offers pretty much unlimited time.
- Second is the “short-form” podcast that is pretty esoteric to set up, dead easy to operate (just dial and talk), and is limited to 2 minutes maximum. Think of it as the podcast form of Twitter.
- There is no 3.
- An account with www.libsyn.com, the cheaper the better (at the time of this writing, it was $5/month for their most basic podcast plan)
- Download Voice Record Pro for iPhone (if you are on Android, I am still looking for a good app that uploads FTP audio files)
- A Feedburner account (using your Google ID)
Step One: Configure Feedburner
- Log into your LibSyn account.
- Click on “DESTINATIONS”, then “Edit or view existing”
- You are looking for the “Libsyn Classic Feed” URL, which will look something like this: “http://YourAccountName.libsyn.com/rss”
On the Feedburner site, copy that URL into the “Burn a Feed Right This Instant” field (and check that you are a podcaster) and click “Next”.
- Now Feedburner will ask you for a “Feed Title.” Make it clever and descriptive and include keywords – just like you were titling a book. “The Traveling Tips Podcast”, for example.
It will also ask you for a feed address. This is the URL that you’ll be telling people to use to subscribe to your podcast. You want it to be easier to remember, since it’s going to be pasted onto the end of “http://feeds.feedburner.com/”. So if I was going to use the above example, I’d probably try for “traveltips”. Notice how there are NO spaces or punctuation in the address!
- Click “Next >>” again, and it will be done! You now have a way for Feedburner to tell the world about any files you put into Libsyn. Now it’s time to make that happen!
Step Two: Configure Voice Recorder Pro
VRP is a pretty fancy little toy, but you won’t actually need all the bells and whistles. In fact, you can pretty much start recording right out of the box:
You can pause (to catch your breath, to find your place, to do whatever) and then when you’re done just press stop. If you didn’t get it right, just hit record and do it over. Yes, there are ways to edit podcasts – but that’s not what this post is about!
Now your recording will appear with the time and date on the screen. Select it, and then tap the top of the screen to give it a more friendly and accessible name. This is basically just for your benefit, so make it something you’ll recognize.
Once you have a recording and you’ve named it, Voice Record Pro will give you a LOT of options of what to do with it. Google, Facebook, Twitter, even some things that hardly anyone uses.
You, however, have a spiffy Libsyn account that is just waiting for your content. So what you will select is the “Send to FTP Server” Option.
It will give you some configuration fields:
- The FTP Host is ftp://ftp-server.libsyn.com
- The FTP Port is 21
- The Username is whatever email you use for Libsyn
- The Password is the same as your Libsyn password
- The Upload Folder is “/quickcast”. This means it will go up and instantly be put into your podcast feed!
Make sure you “save these settings” and, if you feel secure, “save password” too. That way you won’t have to do it again.
Hit the “✓” and it will send off the file to the Libsyn server. It may take a while if you have a long recording, and if you are using cellular data. Be patient!
Once it’s uploaded, though, you’re done! Libsyn will put it into the “feed URL” and that will let it show up on your Feedburner page – which, when you send people to it, will give them lots of ways to subscribe to your podcast!
If you want to submit your podcast to iTunes officially, you would need to follow these instructions. You also probably want to consider using some keywords, special descriptions, and creating specific cover art for the podcast. It can get pretty complicated, and if you would like to hire me, I can help you make it happen!
But for right now, you have everything in place for a rich content-filled podcast.
Next week: the step-by-step chain to make micropodcasting your reality!