What’s The Deal with RSS?

rss feed

Another very important benefit to publishing a blog, is something called “Real Simple Syndication” or RSS for short.  RSS is a content delivery channel, distributing your content to your audience wherever they may be.  Blogs use RSS to automatically deliver your content to your readers without them having to visit your site everyday to check whether your blog had been updated recently.

To accomplish this, your audience needs to subscribe to your blog’s feed.  Using an RSS Feed Reader, they can now read your latest posts from the reader itself.  It works like a simple subscription form.  You place your feed icons in a prominent place on your blog where your readers simply click on it and get subscribed.

RSS Feed Readers are available as desktop downloads or as Web-based applications.  Many are free like Feedly.com and Newsblur.com.

Using RSS is a much better way of syndicating your content than e-mail because RSS goes beyond just e-zines.  And if you were wondering how managing your blog’s subscribers could be possible, there’s Feedburner.com to answer your question. Probably the best in the business, Feedburner.com provides the most detailed stats about your blog subscribers, giving you the edge to improve your blog’s performance as you see fit.

How to Submit your Podcast to the iTunes Store


Before you submit your podcast to the iTunes Directory, you need to know what their review staff is looking for.  Part of successful podcast submission consists of striving to meet these criteria as closely as possible.  Your aim is to be featured in “New & Noteworthy” for your category or even in “New & Noteworthy” on the iTunes general home page.

To do this, however, your podcast needs to not only prove it is “breaking new ground” with “new or unusual content”, it has to first:

  • Stand out
  • Capture the reviewer’s interest

So before we get into the mechanics of uploading, let’s quickly make sure we meet these criteria.  (Create a checklist, if this is the first time you are uploading, and use it every time you upload later podcasts.)

What this will do, in addition to getting you noticed by review staff and boosting your chances of landing a “New & Noteworthy” spot, is make your podcast much more searchable and easily found by your ideal listener.

Step 1.  Make Sure You’re Ready

Remember that you can’t host your podcast on iTunes.  You have to:

  • Register a domain for your podcast blog, where you will host your podcasts (e.g. “TheWilyTracker.com”)
  • Choose web hosting that is up to hosting podcasts, with adequate bandwidth (at least 1gb.) and byte-range support.


While hosting your domain on your own site is generally considered best, you might also consider a webhost that specializes in podcasts, like Libsyn.  It is a syndicated podcasting network, rather than a true webhost – but you can purchase and use your own domain name.  And their array of tools, apps and services simplifies the whole podcasting process.

  • Install and set up your blog.  This is where you’ll host your show notes and talk about your podcasts.
  • Create an RSS feed.  You can’t do it from iTunes, but there are many feed generators and reliable services you can use to create your RSS feed, such as the generator provided by Feedity, which has gathered consistently positive reviews.


Feedity offers a bookmarklet and a widget to display your feeds on your website, RSS button and its pricing plans start at $6.00 per month for twenty feeds.

  • Test your feed – you can do this at Feedvalidator.org, but we’ll test it again when we actually upload to iTunes.

Step 2. Optimize and Check Your Content

Make sure you have maximized each element, targeting each to your audience as closely as possible.

1.    Your Podcast Title

Make it short, catchy and something you would want to download.  Include keywords.


 2.    Your Name and job title

If you are branding yourself, this is essential.  You want your name to be searchable and you can add other tags describing what you do (e.g. Social Media Coach, blogger, entrepreneur).


 3.    Your Description

This is where you tell your listeners:

  • What your podcast is all about
  • What it can do for them if they download and listen right now

You have up to 4,000 characters to do it in – but try to keep it as short as possible.  Remember, people will be “scanning” – glancing over your description for, literally, key words and phrases that might catch their attention.

Too much prose detracts from your message, so cut out all unnecessary adverbs, adjectives and sentences.  Focus only on what your listeners will want to hear.  Don’t clutter your description – but do your best to make it lively, personal, active and catchy.

Remember also that your casual searcher will only see the first five lines of your description.  Even though they have the option of pressing the “More” anchor text, that’s an extra step you’re making them take.  Do you r best to say what you need your ideal listener to read in those first few lines.


If you have a special guest, include your guest’s name and keywords.


  • Ask for a review
  • Ask people to download your podcast and subscribe to your feed
  • Remind them they can head over to your blog (include your blog URL) and leave feedback after your podcast

(Note that you need a separate description for every episode.)

4.    Your Podcast Subtitle

Sometimes you may be asked to input this when you upload to iTunes. It should be the same as the short description you put in your ID3 “Comment” field.

Think of it more as a descriptive tagline, and you’ll be able to write one or two lines that more than adequately fulfills this purpose.


 5.    Your Cover Photo

You will need two versions of this in separate files:

  • 1,400 X 1,400 pixels
  • 300 X 300 pixels

(The 300 X 300 pixel version is for your XML file.)

Before finalizing your podcast cover design, test-resize it to 150 X 150 pixels, then decide: What detail do you lose?  What looks murky or indistinct?  Can you still make out what each graphic element actually is?  (Take out any detail that gets “lost” in small sizes.  And do remember it will display in the iTunes store at 73 X 73 pixels.)



In your cover, be sure to include:

  • Your Podcast name
  • Your Logo or repetitive branding graphic
  • Your Name
  1. 6.    Optimized Metatags

When you save your project and export as an .MP3 in your podcasting software, you’ll be given the opportunity to edit your ID3 tags and save them as a separate XML file.

There may be a few differences between programs, but you can pretty much guess where to put things.  ID3 fields are always presented as if you are recording music, so under “Album” put your podcast title, for example.  “Artist Name” would be your name.  “Track Number” would be your episode number, and so forth.


You can customize your input any way you choose:  For example, under “Artist Name”, you might put “Billy Bob Bushwhacker, TheWilyTracker.com.  Blogger.  Photographer.”

But don’t try to fit in everything but the kitchen sink:  Remember that the sole purpose of these tags is for…

  • Searchability

If you create a Featured podcast, you must update it regularly with new episodes (preferably within the last month).



7.    Your Show Notes

Be sure to upload your Show Notes to your blog!  (Include a graphic to posts, to boost their readability and appeal.)


Step 3. Time to Upload!

Got all that done?  Good.  Now for the actual uploading process…

1.    Open your downloaded latest version of iTunes.  Go to the iTunes store, if iTunes opens up in any other location.

10-iTunes Store

Sign in (or create an Apple ID, if you have not yet signed up for iTunes).

2.    Test your feed in the iTunes Directory (store):

  • When you first open iTunes, select “Subscribe to Podcast” from the File menu
  • Enter your own RSS feed URL in the textarea box
  • Click “OK”


3.    Submit your podcast.

  • From the iTunes Store, click the “Podcast” tab in the top, horizontal menu


  • Go to the Podcast Quick Links vertical, right-hand menu.  Select “Submit a Podcast” from the links contained in this section


  • Follow the instruction wizard
  • You’ll know you have succeeded when you see the Summary page.  If there are any missing tags, iTunes will prompt you for them.

There is no charge for submitting a podcast.

And that’s it.

…Well, maybe… not quite.  Apple’s iTunes podcast submission process is notorious for suffering unpredictable glitches, and not all of them are due to your computer and its operating systems and firewalls.  Apple itself sometimes pops up error messages like this one:

13-error message

Step 4. Troubleshooting

If this happens, don’t tear your hair out.  Instead, refer to the relevant section in the Making a Podcast manual, which goes into detail about specific podcast creation and upload processes.


Remember also that you will find a host of fixes and workarounds from real people like you who have already gone through the process of trying to solve problems at the Apple Support forum (currently the only way to get help from Apple – unless you are having a problem with an actual product purchase).


If you’ve taken care to prepare your podcast properly, your chances of a smooth upload increase significantly – and you should be promoting your new podcast series in no time.


Blogging with Twitter Feed – A Tool for Content Syndication

RSS feedIf you regularly post your blog posts to Twitter and Facebook, why not have someone else do it for you instead? Twitter Feed will take your RSS feed, visit it every 30 minutes or so, find updates and automatically post them to Twitter and/or Facebook for you.

You can customize it to just post the title, the description or both. You can even include a thumbnail image on Facebook. It’s easy to setup and maintain and can save you a lot of time if you blog regularly.

Here’s how to setup Twitter Feed. Before you start, please have an RSS feed already setup, as well as a Twitter account and a Facebook account that you’re logged into.

Step 1: Click Register

Go to http://www.twitterfeed.com. Click “Register” to begin the setup process.


Step 2: Complete the Registration Form

Fill out your email and password, then click “Create Account.”


Step 3: Enter Your RSS Feed

You’ll immediately begin the setup process. Enter your RSS feed into the topmost box.


Step 4: Advanced Settings (Optional)

Click the “Advanced Settings” dropdown box to change the update frequency, sorting, level of detail to each post and so on. Click Step 2 when finished.


Step 5: Select Service, Twitter

Select whichever service you want to link to your RSS feed. Here we’ll start with Twitter, then show Facebook.


Step 6: Authenticate Twitter

Click the “Authenticate Twitter” button to verify that you’re the owner of the account.


If you’re already logged in, Twitter will prompt you with an authorization box.


Once authenticated, click “Create Service” to continue.


Step 7: Select Service, Facebook

If you just want to connect Twitter, then just click “All Done!” instead. If you want to add Facebook as well however, click on Facebook to repeat the process.


Step 8: Authenticate Facebook

Facebook will go through a similar process. Click “Connect with Facebook” to begin.


Click on “Allow” to grant TwitterFeed permission to post to your wall and pages.


Finally, select which page or wall you want Facebook to post to, then click Create Service.


If you want to post to multiple Facebook pages, create another RSS link.

Step 9: Complete Setup

Click on “All Done!” on the services page once both Twitter and Facebook are setup.


Finally, your setup completion page will be displayed.


Any time you post a blog post, within about 30 minutes Twitter Feed will read the post and post it on your Facebook page/wall as well as your Twitter feed. It’s that easy!

4 Tools To Automate RSS to Social Media



One of the easiest ways to automate your social media is to take an RSS feed and plug it into your Twitter and/or Facebook profiles. RSS feeds can be made from just about any kind of dynamic content: From blogs to news sources to video channels.

This technique can save a lot of time, but should also be used with a bit of caution. Avoid spamming your feed with RSS content. If you want to build a real audience, it helps to mix in a bit of automated content with hand-written content.

Start by identifying the feed(s) that you want to push to your social media accounts. You can use your own feed, or you can use any feed from anywhere on the internet. Make sure that if you’re using someone else’s feed, you check your Tweets regularly to make sure that you really feel good about what’s going out in your name.

Here are four of the best services to use for RSS to social media automation.


Twitterfeed is one of the original RSS to social media services on the web. They support Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

To get started, create an account, then click


Fill in the details about the RSS feed you want to add.

Click “Advanced Settings” to specify more details about how you want Twitterfeed to use your RSS feed.


Select which social network you want to post your RSS feed to.


Then authenticate the account you want to post to.



It’s that easy! Twitterfeed is 100% free, so just about anyone can use it to automate their RSS to social media postings.


ConvertSocial is a social media integration, automation and management suite with a wide range of different features. They have a 30 day free trial account, after which you’ll have to pick one of their paid plans.

To get started with automating your social media posting, create an account, then click “Add/Edit Services.”


Go to the RSS tab, then click “Add” next to “RSS Auto Poster.”


You’ll then be able to adjust your feed settings. Note that automating your social media is a paid feature. You won’t be able to access the settings screen until you’ve subscribed.



Hootsuite is one of the largest social media integration sites on the web. They also have a special feature that allows you to post an RSS feed to your social media sites.

To add an RSS feed, log into your Hootsuite account. Then go the launch menu on the left, click the Settings icon and then RSS/Atom.

Click the “+” button next to your RSS feed screen.


Then specify how you want your feed to be setup. You can add the feed URL, specify the account to post to, specify how often to check for update, specify how many posts to post at each time and pre-append text to the tweets.


If social media integration is important to you, using Hootsuite for both your automation and your integration will make managing your whole social media strategy much easier.



Dlvr.it is a very basic service that allows you to quickly and easily post your RSS feed to Twitter and Facebook. There aren’t a whole lot of advanced features. You get the social media automation, quickly, no more and no less.

Start by creating an account. It’s a simple process: Just enter your email and password.


Then type in the URL of the feed you want to add.


Choose which social media site you want to add your feed to.


Then authorize Dlvr.it to post to that website.



Social media automation allows you to constantly update the content of your website, without always having to put in many hours of work.

Make sure you create a coherent strategy that’ll allow you to keep your users engaged, while mixing in a bit of automated content that your readers will still love.