Sunday, 22 November 2009

Did My Podcast Post/Upload?

If, like me, you use a podcast host who gives you a web-based uploader to add new audio files to your podcast, it can sometimes be a bit confusing when you get an error message saying that things went wrong.

If I've been sitting there for 20 minutes waiting for my latest 'masterpiece' to upload, then I don't get the final confirmation screen I was expecting, I'm always left thinking: "Well, did it upload or not!?".

I'm guessing I'm not the only person who's had this issue, so I thought it was worth a quick tip to show how you can check.

You can obviously go to your podcast hosting site & check to see if another episode has appeared, but if they're having technical issues, this may not be a good test. I've heard of folks doing multiple uploads, and nothing seems to have been uploaded, only to find some time later they have the same episode uploaded multiple times.

Probably the quickest and easiest way to see exactly what state your podcast feed is in, (i.e. what has been published) is to look directly at the feed.

Looking at your RSS feed used to be an arduous task, as you were presented with pages and pages of gobbleygook if you tried to look at your feed with a browser. But, in more recent times, browsers have become far more 'feed friendly' and will try to render the RSS output in a format which is something like readable. I've put a screen shot of my own RSS feed opened up in Internet Explorer to show what a feed might look like when viewed with a browser (you can click on it to see it close-up):


So, if you know the RSS feed addreess of your podcast (which I'm hoping you should, as it should be on the front page of your podcast site), you can simply paste it in to the address bar of your browser.

All being well, you browser (if it's a fairly recent one) should show you your episode listings and the audio files associated with each episode. If the epsiode or audio file you expected isn't there, then there was obviously was an issue with your upload, and you maybe need to try the upload again.

One thing to bear in mind with this technique is that if you are also using a feed burning service such as 'Feedburner', then it may take quite some time before the changes in your 'native' podcast feed are reflected in Feedburner. So you should always check the RSS feed supplied directly from your podcast hosting site (or blog, whichever you use).

In fact taking a look at your RSS feed is a great habit to get into whenever you post a new show. It saves the angst and pain of proudly uploading a new show, only to receive an email or two a few days later telling you that there is no audio with your new posting. A quick check of your feed shows your new episode AND the audio enclosure are safely published to your feed and are available for your audience.

Well, I hope this tip has been of some use, and isn't teaching too many grand-mothers to suck eggs out there.

I've also recorded an audio version of this tip at : http://nigelrunner.posterous.com/did-my-podcast-upload which you might like to listen to.

Nigel.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

The Zunifier

I recently read an interesting article about the current state of the podcast community. It's a great article with some eye-opening facts & figures.

One particular statement caught my eye :"Do podcasters realize the Zune has been responsible for 17% overall increase in unique podcast listeners over the past two years? I question why podcasters would ignore a huge segment of potential listeners by not carrying a Zune subscribe icon on their website".

I am definitely one of those folks who has been guilty of not trying to cater for Zune users with a subscribe button on my podcast site.

So, I did a bit of research to find out how I could create a subscribe link or button on my site.

It actually turned out to be a bit trickier than I expected.

So, I thought this might be a good subject to roll up my sleeves for, and try to create a tool to share with other (running) podcasters, that would generate Zune subscription links & buttons.

Now, I'm not a particularly good coder, but I managed to cobble together some Javascript code to create the 'Zunifier'(!) Now, before you get too excited, it ain't the prettiest of sites/tools, but, it will do the job for you.

One thing you need to be aware of is that you must have Javascript enabled on your browser to use this tool.

So, if you've got Javascript enabled, you should be able to put in the title of your show, the address of your podcast RSS feed, and then hit the 'Zunify' button.

That's all there is to it. You will get a choice of a text link, a clickable icon, or a text link with an icon. You can copy the HTML code out of the boxes provided, and paste them on to your podcast web site.

Well, I hope the Zunifier helps you gain a few Zune listeners who might have otherwise not been able to give your podcast a listen. Have fun.

Nigel.

You got email? You CAN podcast!

Hello everyone again. I'm sorry it's been a while since I managed to put out a 'tip', but I'm pretty thinly spread these days.

But, I am on a quest to get more of you good people out there to start your own running podcasts. I know there are plenty of you out there who are itching to have a go, but are a little daunted by the technical challenges.

Well....have I got a treat for you!!

There is a superb resource called Posterous that is the answer to your prayers! The barriers to producing your own podcast have truly been blown away.

Posterous allows you to record some audio on your phone, laptop, voice recorder (whatever you want to use) and then simply email it in to your very own blog page. A blog entry is created from your email, the audio gets attached to your blog entry, and kapow! you have your very own podcast!

It's that simple! You record your episode, email the audio file and you're done.

When I first came across the service, I thought : "No, it can't be that simple can it?". So, I created an account and recorded a short audio segment and emailed it in. You can hear the result at : http://nigelrunner.posterous.com/my-first-attempt-at-a-posterous-podcast.

The subject of the email you send in forms the title of each post you submit. The show notes are the body of the email message you send in, and the email attachment is the audio of your podcast.

From a simple email, you get a professional looking blog site, with an embedded player so that visitors can listen to the show.

Your blog (podcast) even has its own RSS feed, which you could submit to iTunes (or RunningPodacsts.org) so that folks can find your show and subscribe to it.

So, what are you waiting for? Have a go! You don't have to tell anyone whilst you're trying it out, and you can always delete your experimental efforts until you hone your podcast format.

OK, you aren't going to have a show with professional intro's & outro's etc., but you can easily create some great audio content and distribute it to other runners who will be glad to hear what YOU are up to. In my experience, there is always someone out there who is interested to hear what you have to say - content wins out every time over quality to folks who share your passion.

I hope you take some time out to check out Posterous (...which of course is free!), and let me know about your Posterous podcasts.

Nigel