Tumblelog by Soup.io
Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

July 14 2015


July 13 2015


M.I.A. Releases a Transfixing New Short Film, "Matahdatah Scroll 01 Broader Than a Border"

Hot on the heels of their premiere of Drake's ~insane~ video, Apple Music's latest release is M.I.A.'s short audiovisual film "Matahdatah Scroll 01 Broader Than a Border." The musician., who also directed the film, shot on location in India and Cote d'Ivoire to showcase distinct Indian and West African dance styles. There's an all-female sword-swinging troupe, an Ivory Coast street performer in a metallic suit, and M.I.A. posing in a fiery Hindu temple.

The film's score features "Warriors," off her 2013 LP Matangi, as well as a brand new track called "Swords." This is only the first of several more videos to come, as M.I.A.'s vision for her fifth studio album, Matahdatah, whose songs and accompanying videos focus on borders and the importance of cross-cultural exchanges. Watch the first film below:


Kick Off NYFW: Men's With Wilhelmina's Insane New Video

Starting today and running through Thursday, New York City will be hosting its first Fashion Week dedicated solely to menswear. But what to expect? If modeling agency Wilhelmina's video show package (basically a trailer featuring their male models walking in shows this week) is any indication, New York Fashion Week: Men's will be a black-light lit pagan bacchanal full of wolverine models and body paint. In other words, the next few days are going to be nuts. It's raining men. And wolves. Watch above.

"Bitch I'm Madonna" Gets a Dizzying, Star-Studded Remix Video

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 12.32.58 PM.png
Dutch remixer Sander Kleinenberg has just given the techno-fest treatment to Madonna's eponymous "Bitch I'm Madonna" track, which dropped this morning along with a star-studded video by frequent collaborator Jonas Åkerlund. Filled with flashes of more celeb cameos à la the original clip (including shots of Miley, Beyoncé, Nicki and Kanye), it's a dizzying, candy-coated club track that you shouldn't hesitate to fist-pump to. Just make sure to take some Dramamine before you hit the dance floor.
Legendary Activist Larry Kramer Wants You to Read His New Book
10 Free Web Design Books Worth Reading
French Singer Petite Meller Is Winning Over the Music and Fashion Worlds One Rouged Cheek at a Time

An In-Depth Guide To Launching Your Own Podcast

Podcasting has experienced a renaissance in the last couple of years. According to RawVoice, which tracks 20,000 shows, the number of unique monthly podcast listeners has tripled to 75 million, up from 25 million five years ago.

Suffice it to say, now is a great time to start a podcast. It’s an authentic and intimate way to demonstrate authority in your niche and to grow your client base.

I recently started my first podcast1, Agencies Drinking Beer, with my cofounder, Kevin Springer. When starting out, I was a bit lost with the technical logistics of actually setting up the podcast; figuring out the best approach required a lot of searching and digging.

I want to make all of that easier for you. Here, in one place, is all of the best advice, information and resources I can offer you. This way, you can spend less time on the technical side of setting up your podcast and more time creating killer content.

Ready to start? Let’s go!

Plan Your Podcast

While this article focuses on the technical aspects of getting a podcast online, we should quickly cover the basics of starting a successful podcast.

Pick a Target

As with any content marketing2 endeavor, start with identifying your audience and creating personas3. Your podcast should target one distinct niche and not try to appeal to everyone.

Listen to other podcasts4 in your niche to get an idea of what’s out there and what you can offer that’s different. A ton of web design podcasts are out there; so, if your goal is to talk about web design, think about how you can approach it in a way that no one else is doing.

Form a Structure

Decide on the length of the show, whether you’ll have interviews, how often you’ll publish episodes, what day of the week you’ll release them and so on. In most cases, there is no right or wrong way to do it. I’ve listened to podcasts that are 15 minutes each and some that are two hours long. Just pick what works for you and stick to it as consistently as possible.

Plan Your Content

While heavily scripted podcasts can come across as stiff and robotic, planning your topics is still a good idea, especially if you’ll be interviewing guests. I schedule our episodes using a Google Docs spreadsheet, and I use Evernote5 to store notes, questions and topics for each episode. More recently, I’ve also been sending guests an email outlining the questions I plan to ask, to guide the discussion.

Add the Polish

Create a theme song in Garageband or buy a stock theme from somewhere like AudioJungle6. Music will add a lot of energy to your show and make it feel polished and professional.

What Makes A Good Podcast?

An entire article could be written about this — in fact, many articles out there discuss what makes a good podcast7 — but I will mention some things I’ve learned in the four months I’ve been doing it.

Be Real

You don’t need to have the golden voice of a professional radio announcer, and people won’t care if you stumble or make mistakes — that will just make you sound more authentic and human. Whatever you do, don’t read from a script. Speak from the heart and say what you’re really feeling.

Be Passionate

If your podcast revolves around a subject that you love to talk about, then creating new content each week will not be hard. Your passion will shine through, and people will pick up on that. In my podcast I talk about building great agencies because it’s a topic I enjoy discussing with agency owners. I also like beer.

Be Focused

It’s hard to market an episode where you bounce from topic to topic and go on long, rambling digressions. A few off-topic excursions are fine if they are entertaining, but have a clear direction in mind for each episode. If for nothing else, that will make it easier to package and promote later. Preparing bullet points to have in front of you will help guide the discussion.

Really Listen to the Other Person

This seems obvious, but it’s tricky in practice. If you are thinking about what you’re going to say next while your guest is speaking, later you’ll listen to the recording and kick yourself for missing out on great conversational opportunities because you weren’t really listening to what the other person was saying.

My advice is not to overthink it. Recording something is better than obsessing over getting it perfect and not recording anything. Your first episode isn’t going to be as good as your 10th or 50th, but accept this fact, lay down some tracks and move on.

Ready to record? Let’s make sure you’ve got the right tools in place.

Record Your Podcast

A simple set-up 8
Laptop, microphone and headphone. A simple set-up. (View large version9)


The hardware required to record a podcast is actually pretty simple.

  • We use a Macbook Pro with an external hard drive (since clips quickly eat up storage space). Mind you, any PC with an audio input can be used.
  • A proper microphone was the first thing we purchased, and after some research we found a fantastic product at a great price point, Blue Microphones’ Snowball iCE10. It’s a simple plug-and-play USB mic with a sturdy swivel tripod stand. We require two of these because we have two hosts on the show, and we also purchased a USB hub to plug into.
  • Headphones are a necessity, and they must be ones that do not have a microphone built in, so that they don’t pick up unwanted sounds. We use Rocketfish’s headphones hub for two.


  • Skype is a good choice if interviews are an important part of your podcast. Skype is free and ubiquitous, and the sound quality is decent. Keep in mind that if your Internet connection is slow, you may find occasional distortion or delays, which can sap the flow of your interview. Plugging your laptop directly into your Internet connection will help, especially if you’re using a public Wi-Fi network.
  • We found Ecamm’s Call Recorder11 to be the easiest way to record calls in Skype. The one-time fee of $29.95 is well worth it. It also has video recording capabilities if you need that.
  • After we’re done an interview, we import the Ecamm file (which is automatically exported as a MOV file) into GarageBand, and from there we record our introduction and conclusion and add our sound effects and music. GarageBand has a podcast setting, which makes editing a breeze.

Note: When recording with a remote guest, if at all possible, ask them to record their own audio separately and send it to you as an MP3. The quality will generally be much higher than if you record through Skype; and this way, if your recording fails, you’ll have a backup.

From there, we mix it down to a M4A file and upload it to our web server via FTP. (Of course, you may choose MP3, which is perfectly all right.)

Configure Your Website

If you’re new to podcasting, you might be surprised to learn that Apple doesn’t directly host podcasts, and it doesn’t offer any tracking data to tell you how many downloads each episodes get. It’s all on you.

Third-party services, such as Libsyn12, will host your podcast for you, generate an RSS feed and give you download metrics. Call me a control freak, but I want total control over my publishing and don’t want to rely on a third-party service for it.

According to the “king of podcasting,” Paul Colligan13, you should:

  • own the domain name of your podcast,
  • bankroll the hosting of your podcast,
  • own the RSS feed of your podcast,
  • own your podcast copyright.

Set Up a New Blog Channel in Your CMS

For a content management system (CMS), I use Craft14, but you could publish your podcast using WordPress15, ExpressionEngine16, Drupal17 or any other CMS that lets you define your own fields and output them on the page however you want.

Below is what a blog post in Craft looks like for one of my podcast episodes. I’ve set up basic fields for the headline, teaser, main image and content. For the audio file, I simply insert the name of the file and specify in the template the directory in which to look for the M4A file.

A blog post in Craft 18
A blog post in Craft.(View large version19)

You could do this differently and directly upload the file through your CMS. But at 40 to 50 MB per episode, uploading is easier via FTP than in a web browser.

Set Up Fields to Output the RSS Page

Next, you’ll want to set up fields specifically for your RSS feed that iTunes and FeedBurner will display (more on submitting your feed later). Here are the fields you’ll need:

  • Episode title
    Make this separate from the headline used on your blog. Most podcasts contain a short code to go in the title. This looks good on iTunes but may not be what you want on your blog.
  • Subtitle
    This will appear as the description on the iTunes podcast web page.
  • Summary
    This will appear as the description when someone is subscribed to your podcast in iTunes.
  • Length
    Find the length of the episode, and insert the time here (for example, 45:15).
  • File size
    To get the file size accurate, right-click on your audio file and look at the size in bytes. Remove the commas and paste in the size. It should look something like 56288430.
Get the file size accurate 20
Get the file size accurate. (View large version21)

In Craft, I created a new tab to list all of my iTunes fields, so that they’re organized together and separate from my other content.

A new tab to list all iTunes fields 22
A new tab to list all iTunes fields. (View large version23)

Notice how this content will appear in iTunes:

Content in iTunes 24
Content in iTunes. (View large version25)

On the front end of the website, I designed a simple blog-style page for each podcast episode that outputs the headline, introductory paragraph and audio player with iTunes and RSS links. Below that is an image for the episode and the written article.

An image for the episode and the written article 26
An image for the episode and the written article. (View large version27)

For the audio player, we use audio.js28, a simple JavaScript file that uses HTML5’s audio tag, with a Flash fallback for old browsers. The UI is great, and configuration is simple.


Steps for Installing audio.js

Put audio.js, player-graphics.gif and audiojs.swf in the same folder.

Include the audio.js file:

<script src="images-in-article//audiojs/audio.min.js"></script>

Initialize audio.js:

  audiojs.events.ready(function() {
    var as = audiojs.createAll();

Now, you can use the audio element wherever you’d like in the HTML:

<audio src="images-in-article//mp3/juicy.mp3" preload="auto" />

OK, now that your CMS and front end are set up, it’s time to generate the RSS feed.

Generate The RSS Feed

Apple has an extensive article29 showing all of the different nodes to add to your RSS feed. But after digging, I’ve come up with a basic template that should work for most people’s needs:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<rss version="2.0" xmlns:itunes="http://www.itunes.com/dtds/podcast-1.0.dtd">
    <itunes:image href="" />
    <itunes:category text="Business">
      <itunes:category text="Management &amp; Marketing"/>
    <!- Here's where you’ll want to loop through your CMS entries -->
      <itunes:image href="" />
      <enclosure url="" length="" type="audio/mpeg" />
    <!- end loop -->

Note that you won’t be linking directly to the audio file. Rather, you’ll be linking to yoursite.com/download.php?url=path-to-your-file. This is important for tracking downloads. Trust me on this for now — I’ll explain more in a subsequent step.

Below is what the RSS feed template looks like filled out with static and dynamic content within my Craft template:

Complete RSS feed 30
Complete RSS feed. (View large version31)

You can download my own RSS template32 to customize to your own needs.

Finally, once you’ve finished coding your RSS feed, submit it to Feed Validator33 to ensure it has no errors. Do this even if you’re sure it’s valid. At one point, I wondered why my podcast was behaving strangely in iTunes, and it came down to an invalid feed, which Feed Validator helped me fix.

Feed Validator 34
Feed Validator. (View large version35)

Submit the Feed to FeedBurner

Not everyone will want to subscribe to your podcast through iTunes or email. To let people more easily subscribe to your podcast using their own RSS reader or a third-party podcast subscription app, using FeedBurner36 is best.

First, submit a new feed and check off the “podcaster” option:


Once you do that, it will read your feed and generate a unique URL. This is the URL you should be linking to when advertising your RSS feed on your website. It will look something like what’s below when users click the link, which is a bit more friendly than sending them to a pure XML page.

11-feedburner-opt-small 37
(View large version38)

Submit To iTunes

Of course, you’ll want to submit your podcast to iTunes to reap the benefits of the free exposure that Apple offers. (That being said, don’t ignore other platforms, such as Pocket Casts39 and TuneIn40.)

Before you submit it, design a beautiful cover to stand out in the iTunes store. This cover is comparable to an app’s icon in the App Store, but you have a slightly larger canvas to work with. Design it at 1400×1400px. It will appear smaller than that in most places your listeners will see it, so keep it simple, bold and free of small text.

I remember thinking I could get away with including my logo and some text in the cover, but this is how it appeared in the iTunes store:


I removed the Proposify logo and text because it couldn’t easily be read.


Ready to submit to Apple? Go to your iTunes app, click on “Podcasts,” and to the right you’ll see a link to submit a podcast.

14-itunes-opt-small 41
(View large version42)

Click on the button, and it will ask you to submit the feed.

15-itunes-opt-small 43
(View large version44)

It will return a message if you’ve missed filling in any fields. Once everything is correct, iTunes will notify you within a couple of days that your podcast has been approved and will email you a link to your podcast on the iTunes website. It may take a bit longer to show up in the iTunes app.

Seeing your very own podcast in the iTunes store is a pretty magical experience!

16-itunes-opt-small 45
(View large version46)

At this point (and probably long before), you should be announcing your podcast to the world.

  • Email your list of subscribers.
  • Ask all of your friends and colleagues to share it with their contacts.
  • Post it on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.
  • Don’t stop.

Nathan Barry’s article “How to Launch Anything47” might help.

Launch With At Least Three Episodes

The “New and Noteworthy” section of the iTunes store offers you much needed exposure, especially in those critical six to eight weeks following the launch. iTunes has an algorithm that looks at a number of different factors to determine whether to push you higher up in the “New and Noteworthy” section. One factor you can affect directly is the number of downloads.

What if you haven’t yet built up a huge audience? Simply put, launch with more episodes. The more episodes you launch with, the more likely you’ll get more downloads per subscriber, meaning you’re more likely to get bumped to the top.

Consistently releasing new episodes on schedule is important, so put one or two months’ worth of episodes on reserve in case an interview falls through, you get sick or you can’t release a new episode for some other reason. Of course, this may be impractical if you are newsjacking or discussing some other time-sensitive topic.

Track Downloads With Google Analytics

This is the last piece of the puzzle, and I was shocked at how few resources exist to do something as relatively simple as tracking downloads.

Apple doesn’t offer any tracking whatsoever. There are third-party apps, such as Lisbyn48, Podtrac49 and Blubrry50, but, as mentioned, many require you to host your audio files with them and to use their CMS and RSS feed. Not what us control freaks want!

If you aren’t overly concerned with getting paid sponsorship of your podcast, tracking downloads yourself is actually much easier by combining a bit of PHP with Google Analytics events.

I came across a free script from Chris Van Patten, Downloadalytics51, which allows you to track downloads as an event in Google Analytics.

Here are the steps for installing it:

  1. Download the Server Side Google Analytics52 PHP script from Dan Cameron.
  2. Download Downloadalytics53.
  3. Upload both PHP files (ss-ga.class.php and downloads.php) to the root directory of your website.

Leave the Server Side Google Analytics file alone, and open downloads.php. You’ll need to change three things:

  • the website’s URL (yoursite.com);
  • the Google Analytics property ID (for example, UA-1234567-1), which you can find in Google Analytics;
  • the type of audio file to track (I use M4A, but you could use MP4, MP3 or something else).
17-track-opt-small 54
(View large version55)

Update Links to Your Audio Files in Your Templates

Remember earlier when we pointed our RSS feed to download.php?url=, instead of just the basic path to the file? We did that so that Downloadalytics can properly track downloads in Google Analytics.

If you’re using an audio player on your blog, be sure to also point to downloads.php, instead of the basic file path. For example, your blog post should link like this:

<audio src="http://yoursite.com/download.php?url=http://yoursite.com/uploads/file01.m4a" preload="auto"></audio>

Not like this:

<audio src="http://yoursite.com/uploads/file01.m4a" preload="auto">

After a day of tracking, log into Google Analytics. Navigate to “Behavior” → “Events” → “Overview.”

You’ll notice a new event category, named “Downloads,” which Downloadalytics has generated.

18-google-analytics-opt-small 56
(View large version57)

Click on the event category, and you can add it to your dashboard to more easily track by episode.

19-google-analytics-opt-small 58
(View large version59)


Hopefully, you’ve found this to be a useful and comprehensive guide to launching your very own podcast. I’m only 10 episodes in at the time of writing, but so far I’ve found the experience to be a great way to build a closer relationship with my customers and fans. It’s a lot of work, and discipline is required to record week after week, even when you aren’t in the mood, but the reward is more than worth the effort.

So, tell me, when do you plan to launch your podcast?

(ah, ml, al)


  1. 1 http://proposify.biz/podcast
  2. 2 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2012/03/16/the-art-of-content-marketing/
  3. 3 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2014/08/06/a-closer-look-at-personas-part-1/
  4. 4 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/05/14/useful-podcasts-for-designers-and-developers/
  5. 5 https://evernote.com/
  6. 6 http://audiojungle.net/
  7. 7 http://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com/1039/the-7-secrets-to-a-successful-podcast/
  8. 8 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/01-podcast-equipment-opt.jpg
  9. 9 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/01-podcast-equipment-opt.jpg
  10. 10 http://www.bluemic.com/snowball_iCE/
  11. 11 http://www.ecamm.com/mac/callrecorder/
  12. 12 http://www.libsyn.com/
  13. 13 http://www.amazon.com/How-Podcast-2015-Broadcast-Connected-ebook/dp/B00Q5V25RE/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
  14. 14 http://buildwithcraft.com/
  15. 15 https://wordpress.org/
  16. 16 https://ellislab.com/expressionengine
  17. 17 https://www.drupal.org/
  18. 18 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/02-craft-opt.png
  19. 19 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/02-craft-opt.png
  20. 20 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/03-filesize-opt.png
  21. 21 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/03-filesize-opt.png
  22. 22 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/04-craft-opt.png
  23. 23 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/04-craft-opt.png
  24. 24 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/05-itunes-opt.png
  25. 25 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/05-itunes-opt.png
  26. 26 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/06-podcast-webpage-opt.png
  27. 27 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/06-podcast-webpage-opt.png
  28. 28 http://kolber.github.io/audiojs/
  29. 29 https://www.apple.com/ca/itunes/podcasts/specs.html
  30. 30 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/08-rss-opt.png
  31. 31 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/08-rss-opt.png
  32. 32 https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6tDo6gm-2wTN09NR3Z2aHR0OXM/view?usp=sharing
  33. 33 http://feedvalidator.org/
  34. 34 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/09-validate-opt.png
  35. 35 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/09-validate-opt.png
  36. 36 https://feedburner.google.com
  37. 37 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/11-feedburner-opt.png
  38. 38 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/11-feedburner-opt.png
  39. 39 http://www.shiftyjelly.com/pocketcasts
  40. 40 http://tunein.com/
  41. 41 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/14-itunes-opt.png
  42. 42 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/14-itunes-opt.png
  43. 43 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/15-itunes-opt.png
  44. 44 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/15-itunes-opt.png
  45. 45 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/16-itunes-opt.png
  46. 46 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/16-itunes-opt.png
  47. 47 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2013/06/28/how-to-launch-anything/
  48. 48 http://www.libsyn.com/
  49. 49 http://podtrac.com/
  50. 50 https://www.blubrry.com/
  51. 51 http://www.chrisvanpatten.com/track-podcast-downloads-google-analytics-events-free-php-script
  52. 52 https://github.com/dancameron/server-side-google-analytics
  53. 53 https://github.com/vanpattenmedia/downloadalytics
  54. 54 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/17-track-opt.png
  55. 55 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/17-track-opt.png
  56. 56 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/18-google-analytics-opt.png
  57. 57 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/18-google-analytics-opt.png
  58. 58 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/19-google-analytics-opt.png
  59. 59 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/19-google-analytics-opt.png

The post An In-Depth Guide To Launching Your Own Podcast appeared first on Smashing Magazine.


Hari Nef & Petra Collins Join Season Two of "Transparent"

A photo posted by @jillsoloway on Jul 7, 2015 at 11:51am PDT

As if you needed another reason to love Transparent, the groundbreaking Amazon original is bringing on Beautiful Person Hari Nef and photographer Petra Collins to their set for season two.

Following one family after their father (none other than the excellent Jeffrey Tambor) comes out as trans, it's been met with rave reviews for its insightful and intimate, yet hilariously relatable take on the topic -- and creator Jill Soloway has amped up the anticipation even further by Instagraming images of both Nef and Collins over the past few days. Fall can't come fast enough.

The birth of #fussypuss #transparenttv #betransparent

A photo posted by @jillsoloway on Jul 8, 2015 at 5:32pm PDT

First Java 0-Day In 2 Years Exploited By Pawn Storm Hackers
Future (or a Future Fan) Bought OGMaco.com
CSTA: Google Surveying Educators On Unconscious Biases of Students, Parents
For £70,000, You Might Be Able to Own an Enigma

New York – “Hello Walls” at Gladstone Gallery Through July 31st, 2015

Karl Holmqvist, Bebe Coca wall drawing (2015) The influx of summer group shows have already begun in New York this year, as galleries presenting diverting and compelling themes take the slow summer months to explore connecting themes among their roster of artists and the broader art world.  Gladstone Gallery’s Hello Walls is one of the most intriguing of these early group […]
Older posts are this way If this message doesn't go away, click anywhere on the page to continue loading posts.
Could not load more posts
Maybe Soup is currently being updated? I'll try again automatically in a few seconds...
Just a second, loading more posts...
You've reached the end.

Don't be the product, buy the product!