Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid when Podcasting on iTunes

When creating podcasts for the iTunes Directory, your success potential is as much about avoiding mistakes as it is about creating great content.

Being aware of these top ten mistakes will help greatly reduce your chances of having your podcast rejected.

1.    Requiring your audience to login or provide a password to access your feed or episodes

iTunes supports Basic and Digest authorization only.  Basic Authentication utilizes unencrypted base64 encoding, whereas Digest authorization encrypts podcast identity elements such as the requested URL, username and password in hash format.

The FAQ sheet provided by Microsoft for its Forefront Threat Management Gateway explains typical Digest and Basic authentication in more detail.


Bottom line for laymen:  The iTunes Directory will not list password-protected podcasts.

2.    Placing explicit or adult-themed content (pictures or text) into your Title, Description or Cover art for your podcast

You can have explicit language in the podcast itself, but you need to set the tag to “Yes”.

3.    Not delivering on your cover and title promises

It’s okay to make the most of hot trends, like adding the words “for women” to your title: However, do make sure that the content of your podcast delivers on that promise.  The words “for women” mean exactly that; and if your content is generic and gender-less, and there is no tip that uniquely applies to women, your audience will feel (at the least) vaguely disappointed and (at worst) ripped off.

Make sure also that the graphic you use on your cover creates accurate associations in peoples’ minds with your podcast content, so that when they begin to listen, they never utter the dreaded words: “This isn’t what I thought it was, at all!”  (Hint:  Test your cover graphic out on subscribers, fans or forum members first).

Finally, make sure that your title says exactly what it means, is descriptive and can’t be easily misconstrued.  (Particularly watch out for unintended double meanings.)

Again, don’t make assumptions that everyone will associate your Title with its topic or content:

  • Test out your title on select subscribers, fans or forum members first.


 4.    Failing to test your feed prior to upload

Don’t just test it yourself using; have your trusted test team check it out for you.

And do make sure you real Feedvalidator’s article and specs for their new RSS [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][profile support on building a Best Practices Profile.


In addition to, use “Subscribe to Podcast” to test it via the File menu, just before you are ready to submit it.

5.    Including copyrighted material in your content or cover graphic

If you are going to quote copyrighted material in your podcast as more than a short example or review, be sure to contact the author and get permission in writing to use this content.

Quoting snippets of works for review or example usually comes under “Fair Use” within U.S. copyright law – but make sure you are familiar with what “fair use” actually means, in legal terms.

(Pay particular attention to point #4: “The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work”.  If your podcast use is even perceived to diminish the value of the work, or eliminate a potential market, you may find yourself sued.

Be aware also that certain companies and authors more than others make it a principle and habit to sue anyone who even hints at infringing their copyright in a similar manner.)

As for cover graphics, don’t make assumptions there either:  Just because a piece of artwork is in a Public Domain clipart collection, there’s no guarantee it is truly Public Domain.  It is your responsibility to do your due diligence and make sure the work is truly public domain. has a section that allows you to investigate the correct (and incorrect) use of clip art further in their article, “Copyright_Information_and_Issues”.

Two common misconceptions:

  • “You can recreate images from books and current artwork you personally own”

The artist always retains copyright – even if you commissioned a piece – unless that artist signed a “work for hire” contract with you, specifically relinquishing al rights.

You have the right to display the actual book or piece of artwork you own in a physical location:  You do not have the right to reproduce any images.  (Key word here is “reproduction”.

  • Old books and government photography collections are always public domain”

Not necessarily.  It is still your responsibility to check the licensing permissions for any .EDU or .GOV clipart – and you’ll find many of them have specific restrictions or conditions.

As for “old books” and movie posters, it is generally safest to limit your clip art lifting to the 1950s and earlier:  Many restrictions can apply to works from the 1960s upward that should be in the public domain, but due to actions of interested parties or specific geographical restrictions – are not.

(Always check copyright restrictions in the artist or writer’s country of origin, as well as your own.)

6.    Using/Misusing Apple trademarks


By this, they mean “don’t include any trademarked Apple brand names trademarked Apple names in your cover, title or description”; specifically, including the words (or a graphic representation of the words):

  • iPod
  • iPad
  • iPhone
  • iTunes

So “10 Podcasting Mistakes” would be an acceptable title:  “10 iTunes Podcasting Mistakes” could get your podcast rejected.

And if you were to submit “The Official iTunes Guide to the 10 Top Podcasting Mistakes”, it definitely would be rejected!

7.    Not realizing you can submit both text-based and video podcasts to the iTunes directory


When you hear the word “podcast”, most people instantly think “audio file” or “listening”.  But iTunes allows you to upload podcasts with video (sometimes called “vodcasts”) as well as text-based podcasts in .PDF format.

Don’t neglect these alternative media formats:  Currently audio podcasts outweight vodcasts and text-based podcasts by miles – and that could be good news for you.

It means your competition is greatly reduced.

Of course, you always have to observe all the other rules of creating unique content and making sure you upload it with all technical requirements in place.  But the most important factor you should consider, when wondering whether or not to produce your podcast with video or in a text-based format, is two-fold:

  • “What would my audience prefer?  What is their learning style?”
  • “Is this the best media for delivering this particular content?”

There are a number of tutorials you can search for and easily access on the net such as this one showing you how to create iTune-compatible vodcasts (and lots of YouTube video tutorials too).

8.    Not making the most of podcasting promotional and marketing opportunities


Among the most common mistakes in this area, it’s always disappointing to see experts intent on branding themselves failing to invest their time in making regular, weekly podcasts.  It’s such an easy way to reach an audience – and new members of your target audience. And producing one regularly not only becomes a habit for you, but a habit for your listeners too.

Not creating a stable of guest experts – potential JV partners, all – is another often-missed tactic; as is not putting enough thought and effort in your podcast cover photo.

Another missed opportunity:  Not at least considering putting your eBook in Podcast format, which you can easily do with Podiobooks.

Above all, realize the flexibility that podcasting allows.  Be a groundbreaker in your niche and industry:  Make sure that podcasting really works for you – in unique new ways that enhance your reputation.

9.    Uploading podcasts with no episodes

It doesn’t matter whether the lack of episodes is real or apparent:  iTunes is usually quick to remove podcasts without episodes.


Sometimes the apparent lack of episodes can be caused by technical problems, feed problems or by incorrect XML data but whatever the cause – make sure you test, test, test your uploads.

(And never, ever deliberately upload a podcast whose subsequent episodes have not yet been created.)


10. Not realizing that you can make the most of mistakes!

Google+ MistakesOne final thought to leave you with:  “mistakes” is a search term everyone uses; in Google, on forums – and in the Apple iTunes podcast directory.

Consider creating a podcast with “mistakes” as a Title and description keyword:

  • Worst Mistakes
  • Common Mistakes
  • [Number of] Mistakes (e.g. “Ten Mistakes”)
  • How to Avoid [topic] Mistakes  (e.g. “How to Avoid Kitchen Mistakes”)
  • Making Mistakes
  • Beginner Mistakes
  • Mistakes… to Avoid

Search podcasts containing the keyword “mistakes” on the iTunes Directory to give yourself more ideas, to see what type of mistakes keywords are most popular – and which are overused.

But your biggest iTunes podcast of all?  Not making one in the first place![/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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