Time To Upload: Apples to Apples

`Here we are my lovelies, the time has come to get my first episode of the podcast to you!  There’s a process here to look up; JUST like every other step I’ve documented so far and JUST like every step I’ve probably forgotten to comment on or will in the future.  For this part, I didn’t want to be subject to the seemingly trillions of Google search results.  For this very important task, I wanted to go RIGHT to the source.

If you’re thinking Apple, you’re wrong.  This one is up to the WordPress support staff.  I again, ask for help on this one.  So I pose the question “How do I upload my podcast to my WordPress website.”  They of course said something to the tune of: Sure, it’s easy! Follow this step to step guide!  And sure enough, it is a very, VERY easy guide.  Let’s get to it then.

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There is one stipulation from WordPress, and that is to be part of the Premium or Business plan.  Luckily, I joined premium plan right after I created my website!  Now that this step is out of the way, we can get right into getting Apple approval and being able to listen to the episode!

Support>>Audio>>Podcasting gave me three topics to follow: Create your podcast, Configure your site, and Submit to iTunes.  This seemed easy enough right?  First, in my WordPress dashboard, I had to create a category to tag my posts to called “Podcasts.”  Then I would create a new post and tag it as Podcasts.”  We’ll get to why this tag is required soon.  Then, I had to embed my podcast episode in my post.  Here’s the first hitch that the support page didn’t mention; just because you’ve saved your podcast in GarageBand, doesn’t mean it’s in a file format or source folder that can be uploaded to WordPress.  Every time I tried to upload the file, the site wouldn’t allow me to because it was not in the appropriate file format.  A simple search in Google revealed how easy it was.  First you click the “share” drop down at the top of GarageBand, then “send song to iTunes.”  Once I hit share, the song compressed and was officially part of iTunes.  Now that it was there, it was also in the correct file format for WordPress; mp4.  After a brief loading time, the track was now in my blog post.  I wrote up a quick summary of it, tagged the post as “podcasts,” and featured my musical artists.  An additional step that helps later is to include a mini summary of the episode in WordPress’ excerpt field.  Then, just publish the post.  Ok, so now, if you went to my website and then to the blog post where my podcast was featured, the episode was 100% listenable; but only from my website.  I now had to configure my website.  This required me to go into my Admin Dashboard in WordPress and manipulate settings.  Again, this was not straightforward as the guide made it seem.  There were many dashboards in WordPress which had me going in circles for a while.  There was as special section for Admin privileges that wasn’t exactly “out in the open.”  Going to the dashboard>Settings>Media was what I was supposed to do but finding it was no easy task.  Settings>Media wasn’t showing up anywhere.  After a long time of searching and trial/error, I inevitably found the Admin dashboard which differs from my web dashboard.  Now that I found it, I had to give my podcast a title; Life Of Chenz, Podcast Subtitle; Podcast Talent Name, Podcast Summary, Podcast Copyright, Check Off Explicit; for foul language, a Podcast Image; this gave me a ton of issues, Podcast Keywords, and Podcast Categories.  After that it was a quick save.  The following steps were the most troublesome.  

From WordPress to iTunes

While the instructions claim the “submit to iTunes” step only needs to be done once, they make you work hard to get it that one time.  Firstly, you had to find your RSS feed URL.  This is what you link to the podcast page you create for Apple that needs to be approved before your podcast will be public.  This one took me a while to figure out.  I’ve never heard of RSS feeds before and the procedure that WordPress provides doesn’t exactly show me how to get my specific RSS feed for my podcast. They give examples by saying to add “/feed/” to the end of a posts url to get the feed for that post.  But I didn’t want the RSS for a specific post of mine, I need it for the “podcast” category that I was tagging my posts as.  Again, the guide never advised how to get a blog’s feed for the RSS url.  After much experimentation, I determined that the correct action would be lifeofchenz.com/category/podcasts/feed/.  Unfortunately, there was a lot of guessing/experimenting to get to a lot of points in this part of the process which yes, helped me learn the manual way, but wasn’t very efficient and added doubt during a lot of steps.  Next I had to “test the feed” through Apple.  This was the way that Apple could see if your feed connected directly to the episodes which is required in order to be approved for a public iTunes page.  So there was a link in the guide, here, on how to test a feed which sends you to a n apple podcast support page.  It was a short set of instructions which were easier to follow.  First I had to open iTunes on my computer.  Once in there I hit the “file” drop down to find “subscribe to podcast.”  This is where I had to input my RSS feed; lifeofchenz.com/category/podcasts/feed/.  I then was able to see my podcast feed in iTunes (only me at this point can see this).  It appears as 1 episode in a list of where all my episodes would be featured.  I could  also play it which confirmed my feed was accurate and working.  The other way I confirmed it worked was by using the guide’s suggested feed tester source here.  Again, simply paste in the RSS feed and hit check.  I was provided with: “Congratulations! This is a valid RSS feed.

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This feed is valid.”  If there were problems, it would tell me and give suggestions how to correct it.  So now my feed works and Apple can use it to draw from.  Next step was to “submit a podcast.”  

Apple Approval

Again, we have another set of instructions to follow.  The first step was to use Podcasts Connect to submit the podcast for approval.  Here’s the next big hang up that took me a few days to figure out.  There was no link to Podcasts Connect anywhere in this guide.  I couldn’t find it period.  I thought I made missed a step somewhere and kept going back and forth trying to figure out where this mysterious spot was.  I didn’t know if it was a setting in iTunes or WordPress or what.  I searched in the tools section of both and found absolutely nothing on it.  I eventually gave up and went to Google.  A simple search of the exact phrase brought me to the first search result of Podcasts Connect – Apple.  This link brought me to a login screen; requesting my Apple ID and password.  After logging in, it brought me to a page labeled iTunes Connect- My Podcasts.  There was only one action to take and it was a ” +  “ button.  After hitting that, I had to put my RSS feed in again.  After gaining access, it brought me to, more or less, a dashboard page for my Life Of Chenz Podcast.  It was basically a user page or profile for the podcast.  There is a status icon alerting you if you’re podcast is active or not, last time it was refreshed, and a couple other features to keep up on settings. In order for Apple to approve my podcast, it had to review my credentials and I needed to be meeting all requirements.  The only thing I seemed to of gotten hung up on was the size of my podcast image.  They have very, VERY stringent expectations on this feature.  Now, I do not own photoshop any longer after upgrading to an iMac from my MacBook.  The laptop had photoshop however, the laptop is verging on it’s last leg; hence the upgrade.  I had to scour the internet for a web based photo editor that allowed me to manipulate image size/resolution details.  After a LOT of tinkering and trial & error, it finally worked.  My podcast approval request was submitted to Apple.  I believe I heard back within a day or 2 that it was APPROVED! From that point on, you could see my page in iTunes and listen to anything I uploaded just like all of the favorites I have like Burr and Rogan.  Luckily, this whole submission process, as stated before, was a one time thing.  From here on out all I had to do was create a new blog post, tag it to my podcasts category, upload the audio file, and publish that blog post.  When you refreshed the Life Of Chenz iTunes page, the new episode was there and ready to enjoy.  The feeling of accomplishment was absolutely exhilarating.  The live podcast can be found on iTunes here .

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