What Do Podcasters Need to Know About the iOS 11 Update?


What Do Podcasters Need to Know About the iOS 11 Update?

September always promises the following: back-to-school excitement/grievances, the roll-out of Starbucks’ ever-popular fall menu, and the annual announcement of Apple’s latest iOS update. This year not only marks the launch of iOS 11, but also the tenth anniversary of the device that innovated smartphone touch-screen technology, not to mention podcasts themselves—the iPhone.

Indeed, 89% of iOS users are currently updated to iOS 10, suggesting that a decent chunk of this number will install iOS 11 as it is available for update. And it isn’t just Apple users who have their eyes on how iOS 11 will change their mobile experience—it feels as if each update shifts how our social culture communicates, iPhone user or not.


A handful of iOS 11 features appear to be Apple catching up to its competitors by offering one-handed typing mode and wireless device charging—all features currently possessed by Google and Samsung devices. Apple’s innovation in this launch is moreso reflected in its brand-new Podcasting app, which has the potential to change how we consume and produce podcasts altogether.


What Do Podcasters Need to Know About the iOS 11 Update?

The update, set to be released on September 13th, has some big changes and this will affect podcasters. Though for diehard podcast listeners, the Podcast App may still need some more work after this update, the way podcast hosts upload to iTunes is going to become a lot more organized. Here at Podfly, we're excited for the new changes as it means our clients get to leverage a whole new set of fantastic features.

Podcast creators are in for a treat with iOS 11’s streamlined guide from recording to launch. For example, any podcast’s cover art is essentially its “product packaging,” so Apple has allowed creators to upload a 3000x3000 JPEG or PNG image to brand their show—all while keeping the image under 1MB to save space. As the previous image size was 512KB, this is a huge improvement in keeping one’s podcast art clear and legible.

Submitting one’s podcast to Apple for review and approval is also a snap. All the creator needs to do is log in to the new Podcasts Connect section, copy and paste the URL of their podcast from their preferred hosting site, and voila—iOS 11 has made it that much more straight-forward to upload to their immense catalogue.



What Sort of Features Can Podcast Hosts Expect with the New iOs 11 Update?

There are four main features you need to care about:

  1. Seasons.
  2. Trailers, teasers, and bonuses.
  3. Podcast Analytics.
  4. SEO/Tagging.



Let’s start with the launch of Episodic vs. Serial podcasts, which is how podcasts will be sorted in the new iOS 11 app. Right now, when listeners subscribe to a podcast, they receive the most recent episode downloaded to their phone. With the introduction of episodic and serial seasons, this means podcast hosts will need to include new metadata in the back end of the show (more on this later) to tell iTunes how they would like their show organized.

If listening to a stand-alone episode series such as Vicky Frasier’s Business for Superheroes, its latest episode will be shown and recommended at the top of the app, and individual episodes can also be downloaded. As for serial seasons, podcast hosts can set it in a way that the first episode in the season is what would be downloaded first. They will also be able to download the entire season in one go, and have it be played in order from oldest to newest. It’s a simple but effective tweak, similar to competitor app Overcast’s “intelligently inserted” episodes, but its categorization presents a shift in podcasting language—we won’t be surprised if all podcasting apps eventually present their episodes this way.


Trailers, Teasers, and Bonuses

Right now, when it comes to releasing teasers and bonuses for your upcoming podcast or season, it often clutters your 'true' podcast feed and this bonus episode will stay there like any regular episode would. This can look messy and disorganized. However, with the introduction of iOS 11, hosts will now be able to release bonus audio that complements the most recent episode and it would not clutter the main iTunes feed. This is great news as this means you can introduce teasers into your show without having it interfere with the overall podcast experience.

iOS 11 is also introducing three ways to label podcast episodes: full, trailer, and bonus. Full episodes are easy enough to categorize, as they are the most standard of episodes, but serial podcasts often start their seasons off with a trailer to entice listeners to subscribe to the full series.This labeling will further streamline the user experience of locating specific episodes in their Podcast library.


Podcast Analytics


The real game-changer in iOS 11 is the ability to access analytics. Yep, it’s now possible to see specs like the listener count, where they are, and how much of the podcast they are completing—all inside the Podcasts Connect section under the Podcast Analytics tab. By understanding these metrics, it can really be a game changer to how you implement ads or even how long your show should -really- be.

Good analytics play a big part for several of our clients; it's what allows them to get sponsors and push their show to new markets. Right now, if you'd like to know how many times your show has been downloaded, you will have to go into your podcasting hosting provider. However, that's as far as the analytics go. Stats is a very difficult thing to track in the podcasting world and hopefully Apple will make it easier for everyone involved to hone down on their numbers and get to know their audience a lot better.



As mentioned in the seasons part of the article, in order for you to properly organize your show, you have to go into the back end and update the metadata so that iTunes understands how you'd like your show to be classified (episodic or season). Our good friend Daniel J. Lewis wrote an excellent piece on how to use the iOS 11 podcast tags effectively, which you should definitely check out.

For those of you doing the math, yes, podcasters with over 50+ podcast episodes will be looking at quite a bit of tedious work in order to get their podcast iOS 11 ready. However, the good news is Podfly will be offering services to help take care of all that post-organizational 'blah' in your show backlog. Feel free to reach out to us if you'd like more information.



How to transition appropriately on your hosting provider:

Apple.com offers a handy list of hosting sites that support the app for creators to choose their best option, as well as helping creators out with marketing by offering their Identity Guide. Creators can take advantage of the Listen on Apple Podcasts badge by placing it on their podcasting website or various social media channels, linking their content immediately with just one click.

We reached out to Podbean, Bluburry, and Libsyn about how they're preparing for the new changes and this is what they had to say:




"We're excited to see the rollout of the iOS changes which seem to be podcaster (and listener) friendly. We expect they'll help podcasters better organize their content for listeners, and perhaps help with the Apple podcasts search process. It's worth every podcaster taking a look at the updates and seeing how they might want to incorporate changes into their tags, titling system, etc. Shortly after the announcement, we upgraded the Podbean platform so podcasters could begin preparing for the new feed tags. As the system rolls out and more changes come, we'll keep abreast of them to help podcasters navigate them." --David Xu, CEO, Podbean LLC

The Podbean blog has an excellent post on how podcasters can get ready for the new iOS 11 changes.





“iOS 11 will give podcasters additional ways to highlight and organize their episodes. Those running seasons or serial content have some great new ways to display their shows in the Apple Podcast App. It is evident Apple is listening to the community as a whole and this is a response to that feedback. The new Apple Podcast App statistics that they will be providing at the end of the year will also give podcasters additional data to share with prospective sponsors and give them insight on how their show is being consumed on the App by their listeners.” Todd Cochrane, CEO, Bluburry.

Bluburry has an article on how to setup your iTunes podcast settings for iOS 11.





“The key to iOS 11 and Version 3.0 of the Podcasts App is understanding the new iTunes tags and what Apple wants to see shows do and not do. They do not want to see your show’s title or an episode number in the episode title any more. To that end, they’ve created a new field called - iTunes Title."

If normally you had some initials for your show title and the episode number in your episode title (normal practice to help sight impaired users) - such as this:

‘Tii 0441 - September 12th Event - iPhone 8, 8+, X and iOS 11 Gold Master’

This can remain your main title in your feed - but for the iTunes title Apple just wants to see this:

‘September 12th Event - iPhone 8, 8+, X and iOS 11 Gold Master’

There is a new iTunes summary - which is a quick description of that episode.  Plain text - not special characters or links. If you have episode numbers - add them in as well for the new episode number field. If your show has seasons - add those in as well. And now - there is also a tag for iTunes author for that specific episode. If a show has guests - include the host and the names of all of the guests for that episode in iTunes author.  

Apple is helping producers clean up their shows so they look better in iTunes. Libsyn has added in ALL the iTunes tags, so producers can follow the advice from Apple and clean up their shows.” - Rob Walch, VP of Podcaster Relations, Libsyn.

Libsyn has a live webinar going over the latest iTunes Tags (and more) in the Libsyn publishing platform.


According to Apple Podcasts Business Team manager James Boggs, consumers get excited by podcasts that “entertain, inform, and inspire” us. Boggs predicts a 20% growth of content in their Podcast catalogue all thanks to these key iOS 11 update, and Podfly will continue to monitor how this launch affects not only Apple’s market share, but podcasting itself. We predict we’ll be wearing shades to handle such a bright future.




How to Rebrand Your Podcast with Jessica Rhodes


How to Rebrand Your Podcast with Jessica Rhodes

Last week was another reminder of how much I adore podcasting. I had the opportunity to visit the Interview Connections office and podcast studio in Warwick, RI. Jessica and her team were warm, gracious and welcoming. Taking advantage of the visit, I was invited to appear on the freshly, rebranded show Interview Connections (formerly Rhodes to Success), where Jessica and Margy help their listeners "rock both sides of the mic". 

Check it out!

Given their recent rebrand, they snagged me on mic for a quick, 30-minute show to discuss:

  • What’s the difference between a rebrand and a tune-up?

  • What does it mean to rebrand?

  • How do I rebrand my podcast?

You can find Jessica and her awesome team over at InverviewConnections.com


Podcast Hosting with Podbean - an Alternative to Libsyn?

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Podcast Hosting with Podbean - an Alternative to Libsyn?

We're back with another post, as we continue to review the various podcast hosting platforms available on the Internet. In case you missed it, check out the pieces I wrote on how to best move your podcast off SoundCloud with Libsyn and Buzzsprout.

In this insightful post, we dive into Podbean's free podcast hosting services and address some of the concerns the podcast community has expressed with them. I know when I was personally looking through Podbean reviews, it didn't look pretty.

They also didn't look very recent either, with the most recent negative review written in 2012. Old, but still relevant? Maybe. I decided not to leave it up to chance and reached out to Shannon, the Director of Communications for Podbean, to get directly to the source of the issues their past clients have had with them.


The Top Two Most Common Complaints about Podbean

It's not a good sign when the first few spots on Google, for 'Podbean Review', are negative. It's also not a good sign that they're all outdated, as I couldn't find anything that was relevant in the 2015-2016 time period. The two biggest concerns and negative remarks that I extracted out of Podbean were:

  1. Their inability to give you control over your own RSS feed. This means that once you give your RSS feed to Podbean, it's theirs forever and you won't be able to get it back; essentially forcing you to start all over. New podcast, new following, and a brand new iTunes page. Ack!
  2. Their terrible customer service offered by non-native English speakers on, with the lack of ‘know-how to fix’ what should be simple solutions. There's nothing worse than dealing with Comcast-esq customer service, questions unanswered, and a support team that doesn't respond to cancellations.

But as I mentioned at the beginning of the article, these reviews are old...way old. They shouldn't even be mentioned in this article, but I know our audience is bound to come across what I found on Google, so it needs to be addressed.


According to Podbean, These Problems Have Been Fixed

Shannon was quick to address the concerns I mentioned above, and frankly, after seeing her in-depth response and the various actions taken by her and her team, I feel Podbean is on a fast track to success.

Podbean has already fixed problem number one, and now users are able to move off their platform should they wish. For those who are interested in switching to Podbean services, Shannon offered this helpful article - How to Set a New Feed.

In regards to problem two, Shannon did mention that the company no longer offers phone support. Instead, customers can contact them via email or live chat. Their live chat isn't 24/7, but it does cover around 20+ hours or so. If you can't reach support via live chat, then email is the second best form of communication, of which they quickly reply to. Shannon acknowledges that their customer service was horrible in the past and said Podbean has made major improvements in that regard. Here is what she had to say to me via email:

We have made major improvements to support and have a much more experienced/long-term team now. Of course, no company’s perfect and sometimes they run into complexities, etc. Fortunately—and this is what I think is great about us—me and David (CEO) review twice/week with the team (and more as needed) and help them address any issues, reply to customers having difficulty, help them improve responses, etc.

I (and our community manager, Jennifer) try to be pretty active on social media too, in order to help podcasters. We explain that our Support Twitter isn’t monitored constantly for support requests, so direct contact to Support is best, but we interact consistently with our customers (and other podcasters)—not only for problems, but to proactively help them with resources, marketing ideas, promotion etc.
— Shannon Martin - Podbean Director of Communications


What's Great About Podbean?

One of the main reasons why podcasters prefer Podbean over other podcast hosting service platforms is affordability. Their unlimited audio plan goes for as low as $9 a month, with their annual sign up package. They are currently preparing to offer HLS to podcasters who provide video of their interviews as well.

Podbean is an easy and powerful way to start podcasting. Everything you need. No technology to learn.

Podbean is an easy and powerful way to start podcasting. Everything you need. No technology to learn.

Podbean seems to be a perfect option for those that have very little technical knowledge. The platform provides easy-to-use tools that can help set up an attractive podcast page. Shannon told me that Podbean is the first host to provide a blog-like platform/page for podcasters. Shannon also believes their back-end editor is simpler to use than WordPress's editor, which can be a huge bonus to some. If you're an independent hobby podcaster without a website, then this option could be ideal for you.

If you already have a website for your podcast, then no problem. The site makes it easy to redirect the feed to your own website, so those who are seeking a little more customization will be glad to know that they're not stuck to Podbean's platform.

Here's the interesting thing about Podbean. They offer affordable integrated monetization. This is what Shannon had to say about it:

We were one of the first hosts (and still, the most affordable—taking only a 15% revenue share with no upfront fees) to offer premium content options (subscriptions or fees for single, “bonus” episodes) and we are the only one to offer integrated crowdfunding (patron support).

CF is also available to podcasters who host anywhere, and I think this is a hidden gem! The great thing about our program is the page pulls in your RSS so it looks great with recent episodes shown there—and for Podbean podcasters, the “become a patron” button is automatically on their page (others can get our pre-formatted buttons, super simple to put on their pages).

Also, if their listeners listen in our apps, the buttons will be there right on the screen so no extra steps, telling them a separate site to go to later etc. CF was so going at first, but we’re really seeing it be more widely adopted and many people are doing quite well with it. Look for something special in the advertising space to be coming soon as well!
— Shannon Martin


Finally, I'd like to mention that Podbean does something unique that other podcast hosting service providers don't do as proactively, which is to promote their clients’ content regularly. Podbean promotes 5 podcasts each week on their homepage and in their app, giving their clients some great exposure. They also do regular shout-outs on social media. I like that they do this a lot, because it means they really do care about what their customers have to say and what they are putting out into the world.

I recommend that you check out Podbean, as it seems some of the major problems they had in the beginning have been fixed and that they're actively working towards building a stronger community and service.


About Podfly

We are a boutique podcast production service that creates beautiful sounding audio and highly descriptive and well-crafted show notes. We have a small team of audio engineers and writers to help perfect your podcast and make it sound great. If you're starting from scratch, we can teach you how to set up your audio equipment and craft an excellent podcast with intros and outros included. You can contact me at Ayn@Podfly.net for more information or reach us through Podfly's contact form.


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See You At Podcast Movement!


See You At Podcast Movement!

Podfly is happy to see everyone, new and old, at Podcast Movement this year. We've got some exciting things coming your way, but be sure to stop by our booth to say hi! Our two co-founders Corey and David will be at the booth along with team members Aty and Eric. 

By the way, Corey will be speaking at Podcast Movement this Friday the 8th at 9:15am in the Columbus GH hall. He will be discussing podcast editing from start to finish and will be giving you a walk through on how to take raw content and polish it into a professional sounding podcast - all under an hour. Sounds impossible? It isn't, but you won't learn the trade secrets unless you stop by his workshop this Friday! You can learn more about Corey on his Podcast Movement speaker page

See you guys there! 

About Podfly:

Podfly is a boutique podcast production company that turns amateur podcasters into professionals. We have a staff of highly skilled audio engineers and show note writers to craft the perfect podcast. If you're new to podcasting and don't know where to start, then Podfly has some great packages for newbies who want to get their podcast off the ground. Contact me personally at Ayn@Podfly.net or reach Podfly through the contact form for more information. 


Podfly Featured Client - Your Adventure Comes to Life with Loco Gringo


Podfly Featured Client - Your Adventure Comes to Life with Loco Gringo

Do you ever wish you had a friend living in the Riviera Maya on Mexico’s Caribbean Coast? This friend could tell you about the cool, non-touristy spots that only someone who has been living there for decades would know about? This friend could also put you in touch with the small, locally owned accommodations and the freshest, mouthwatering, best-priced restaurants in the area. This friend would also fill your mind with anecdotes about the local culture and traditions that were born in the Mayan civilization.

Well, you do have that friend and her name is Kay Walten. Kay has lived in the Riviera Maya since before it was called the Riviera Maya. Way back in 1992, Kay was summoned from Baltimore to Mexico to take over the operations of a local dive shop while getting the opportunity to explore the amazing underwater caves surrounding the Yucatan peninsula. She has been sharing her experiences and turning tourists into travelers on her in-depth website, LocoGringo.com ever since.  

Subscribe in iTunes | Stitcher | TuneIn 

In addition to enriching the local community by providing reservations to thousands of travelers, Kay hosts the LocoGringo weekly podcast. LocoGringo features locals who all started out as tourists but became enchanted with the pale green waters of the Caribbean, the mystery of the Mayan Ruins, the underwater netherlands of the coast, and the deep, rich, blue pools of the cenotes. Each week, Kay interviews local business owners who have thrived in the laid back world of the Riviera Maya, environmentalists who love the area and work diligently to sustain a balance between its natural beauty and the effects of tourism, and adventurers who have explored the inner depths of the sea and cenotes with respect and admiration. Her guests share their top three secret places for the perfect blend of adventure and tranquility with Kay and her many subscribers.


If you are in search of a podcast production company devoted to making your podcast as informative as LocoGringo,Podfly is here for you. We are a collaborative team of audio engineers, writers, editors, and professional voice actors. Our collective skills and expertise make the Podfly family a truly unique team dedicated to the art and craft of producing and distributing high-quality audio productions. Contact us at info@podfly.net with your sense of adventure and we'll take care of the inner workings needed to help your podcast travel the world.