How to podcast with the WordPress Bluburry plugin

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Want to know the best podcasting techniques with WordPress ? This comprehensive tutorial will guide you step by step to wake up the podcaster in you !

About podcasting

Instead of breaking my head to explain in some lines the concept of podcasting, let us use Wikipedia :

“The podcasting is a way of streaming files (audio, video or other) on the Internet called podcasts.

Through subscription to RSS or Atom, podcasting allows users to listen or download the audio or video programs for digital music players for an immediate or later viewing.”

That said, lean how to do it with WordPress !

Methods for podcasting with WordPress

In this tutorial, you’ll learn the best techniques for podcasting with WordPress – techniques that I implement on my blog WordPress Channel, including :

  • Management of podcasts feeds with FeedBurner ;
  • Publication of podcasts on iTunes Store ;
  • Collecting downloads statistics ;

I’ll not tell you how to create or edit audio / video podcasts.

Step 1 – Installing Blubrry PowerPress plugin

PowerPress plugin is available through WordPress directory and can be installed directly through your administration. Otherwise, download it here :

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/powerpress/

As usual, upload the folder to /wp-content/plugins/ using an FTP client.

Don’t forget to enable this plugin.

Step 2 – Configuring the PowerPress plugin

This plugin is very complete and will fit every king of profile. I’ll detailed all options, tab by tab.

First, click on Settings in the PowerPress module. Scroll down and check that Advanced Mode is activated.

The 3 others options are :

  • Audio Player Options : essential for audio podcasts, PowerPress comes with 5 Flash player. Once enabled, a module will appear in the left side menu ;
  • Custom Podcast Channels : allows management of multiple formats. Useful if you create an SD / HD version for instance ;
  • Podcasting Category : this option displays a new menu item called PowerPress and allows for multiple streams of podcast categories ;

As a beginner, you just need the first box entitled Advanced Mode. So, confirm by clicking on Save Changes.

We are now ready to start the real configuration of PowerPress.

Basic settings tab

Default Media URL

Enter here the complete URL of you host. This option will avoid you to type the entire address of the file when writing article with podcast – although, I still write the full URL. 🙂

Podcast Entry Box

Lets you choose between 3 types of dialog boxes found in the pages of creating articles :

– Simple : only display the URL field ;
– Normal (default) : the URL field, size and duration are present. I use this box type on WordPress Channel ;
– Custom : you are free to check this case for additional options ;

File Size Default

Leave on auto detect file size in order to let PowerPress detects the file size by himself.

Duration Default

If you create audio podcasts, the duration is automatically detected… but it’s not the case with video podcast. So, if you make videos, switch to User specify to put your own values.

Auto Add Media

Leave on Disabled (default) without hesitation! This option adds the first or last link of your articles as a podcast. This technique is strongly not recommended.

Podcast Permalinks

Permalinks are the URLs of your WordPress site. I advise you to leave on WordPress Default Behavior but you are able to change it. Be careful with this option – think about SEO.

Services & Statistics tab

Blubrry website offers paid services compatible with PowerPress plugin – including storage solutions.

However, you can get free statistics.

To get those, just register by clicking on Click here to configure Blubrry Services. Then, click Display Statistics in WordPress Channel.

In the Media Statistics section, paste the redirection URL provided by Blubrry services. This redirection is essential to generate statistics – a very common method, so don’t worry about that.

Note that nothing prevents you from using FeedBurner with this solution.

Appearance tab

PowerPress provide a video player that you can display in your posts. We must also determine where will be displayed the download link of the podcast.

Media Presentation

Choose where will be shown the download link and player in the post :

  • Post Below ;
  • Above Post ;
  • None ;

Personally, I opted for Below Post.

PowerPress Shortcode

This plugin has very convenient shortcode allowing you to insert the podcast exactly where you want.

The standard one is : powerpress.

You can view a list of shortcodes here to go further.

Display Media Player

Choose whether to display the video player and how. Preferring using YouTube to deliver the best playback performance including high definition, up to you to suit your needs.

Download Link

Set the way you view the download link. I suggest you give the information of duration and file size, common method for podcasts shows.

Theme Having Issues?

This option is very useful because it corrects the bugs inherent in your WordPress theme. If you have player issues, choose Yes, please try to fix.

Video Player Settings

Classical options allowing you to define the width and height of the player as well as the QuickTime player.

Podcasts are usually MOV files, that’s why PowerPress is compatible with QuickTime.

Audio Player Settings

Determine the width of your audio player – default value is 320 pixels.

Feeds Tab

This is the most important tab for your podcast!

Podcast Feeds

First, remember that your readers will be able to subscribe RSS feed that contains only podcasts posts – like a WordPress category e.g. http://wpchannel.com/feed/podcast/

This is useful for readers that only want to get your podcast content.

3 options are available :

  • Enhance All Feeds : although recommended, you should not check this setting. It enables management capabilities for all your feeds – including RSS categories and tags ;
  • Enhance Main Feed Only : this option adds support for podcasting tools for your main RSS feed. Currently in place on WordPress Channel ;
  • Do Not Enhance Feeds : parameters that you’ll define below only apply to the podcast feed ;

Once options are saved, don’t forget to valid your RSS feed using Validate button. This is extremely important for iTunes publication.

Feed Settings

Start by indicating the number of episodes to show in the feed.

I suggest you pass this value to 100, otherwise only the latest episodes will be present in the stream and then on iTunes.

If you talk about news or events, this number is important : the subscriber must be able to download the first episode and the last one without constraints!

Then specify the URL of the image stream in the RSS2 Image. Essential to market your podcast!

So, click Upload a New Image and choose a good file.

Then select the language : French in my case, but English for you I suppose.

Finally, enter the copyright – e.g your blog title / business.

Once again, click Save Changes.

iTunes tab

Here is the most interesting part in my opinion! How to appear in the iTunes Store directory?

In fact, it’s very simple : just submit a valid RSS feed (remember the important validation above). But be careful about settings below.

iTunes Listing Information

The URL for subscription on iTunes will be provided to you once registered.

To begin the process of publication, click Publish a Podcast on iTunes. Your feed will be validated by Apple team, be patient!

PowerPress goes further by pinging iTunes each time you publish a new podcast.

To do this, select Yes in the field iTunes Update Listing. A box called Test Update iTunes Listing lets you test the service by notifying the platform. The result of success or failure is displayed below.

iTunes Feed Settings

Here you’ll be able to specify all the information that will be published on your iTunes Store page :

  • iTunes Program Subtitle : the title of your podcast program ;
  • iTunes Program Summary : a detailed description of your channel (no HTML) ;
  • iTunes Episode Summary : this exclusive option to PowerPress plugin allows iTunes excerpt to link back to your post. To get this, select Optimize from iTunes Summary Blog Posts ;
  • iTunes Program Keywords : make your listing by specifying a maximum of 12 keywords ;
  • iTunes Category : choose the main category of your audio podcasts ;
  • iTunes Category 2 : same but the second level classification in the directory ;
  • iTunes Category 3 : same but the third level of classification in the directory :
  • iTunes Explicit : parental control setting. Put Clean – No explicit content to give you a good point ;
  • iTunes Image : the picture that represents your podcast on iTunes. Dimensions : 600×600 px ;
  • iTunes Talent Name : the podcaster pseudo or name. Check Use author’s name blog post for individual episodes for multi-author blogs ;
  • iTunes Email : your e-mail address to notified of your approval ;
  • New iTunes Feed URL : don’t touch it ! This link will reset all your options for presence on iTunes Store ;

Here is a sample page podcast on iTunes : http://itunes.apple.com/fr/podcast/wordpress-channel-podcasts/id331487290

Congratulations! You just completed the PowerPress configuration. Confirm your settings by clicking on Save Changes, one last time.

Step 3 – Creating an article with podcast

PowerPress has a module called Podcast Episode inside WordPress posts / pages writer.

This module can vary in terms of options as we have set in Step 2.

Media URL field is the most important. Enter the podcast URL and click Verify ti check address validity.

Other fields are very simple to understand, I’ll not detailed them.

No further action on your part is required at this point. Write your article as you’re used to and publish. The podcast should be inserted at the location you specified in the PowerPress options.

Podcasting advice

#1 – Choosing a good host

This aspect shouldn’t be neglected! Keep in mind that your subscribers – both the RSS (and therefore iTunes) that your readers will download your episodes right from YOUR server.

Your host should provide unlimited bandwidth and good terms of storage – especially for video.

If you offer playback of video files from the PowerPress player, I recommend a streaming server.

#2 – Broadcast on YouTube

You should distribute your content on YouTube or other video sharing platform to provide best streaming solution. Prefer HD services like YouTube or Vimeo and use their embed code into your posts.

In this case, you’ll get more subscribers and enhanced your SEO on Google : that’s what I do on WordPress Channel!

Another advantage : it certainly more social!

#3 – FeedBurner

On WordPress Channel, all posts do not necessarily provide video podcast.

Thus, it’s very useful to use a service like FeedBurner to manage your RSS feed.

4 advantages to this :

  • Obtaining additional statistics (number of subscribers, number of clicks, etc.) ;
  • Functions newsletters ;
  • Advanced customization (logo, stream format, sharing buttons, etc.) ;
  • Google Adsense advertising ;

Note that FeedBurner have a podcasting mode. Just add a feed and check I’m a podcaster!

Only one bag thing: the options are redundant for iTunes. So only use PowerPress for iTunes settings.

Here we reach the end of this complete guide on podcasting techniques with WordPress. Now, you are ready to become a WordPress podcaster!

Podcast #8: WordCamp Chicago Wrap-up

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WordCamp Chicago

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In this wrap-up podcast for the WordCamp Chicago weekend, Ashley and I talk about the last three talks on Sunday (Jim Turner’s, Time Frick’s, and Matt Mullenweg’s) as well as our overall feelings on the weekend.

Good news: Ashley enjoys podcasting, and will be sticking around on future Theme Playground WordPress Podcasts that we put together. You can follow her on Twitter at @arae.

We’ll be updating the blog again this afternoon with photos and links to others that were at WordCamp. It was a great experience, and one that both of us hope to attend again. Why wait until next year at Chicago — there’s one coming up in Canada, right?

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or just grab the podcast RSS feed if you don’t use iTunes for listening to podcasts (both AAC and MP3 flavors available). You can also find past episodes of the Theme Playground WordPress Podcast if you’ve missed an episode or two.

Podcast #7: WordCamp Chicago, Day 1

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WordCamp Chicago

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With day 1 of WordCamp Chicago complete, Ashley and I did a quick recording giving our initial thoughts on the presentations today, including the after-party at Morton’s the Steakhouse.

Some highly important notes from this podcast:

  • Ashley was called out on her desire for a picture with Mullenweg by Mullenweg
  • Ashley’s favorite speaker: Micah Baldwin, who she says sounds like Hurley from Lost. (Just sounds like, MIcah, seriously!)
  • Ryan’s favorite speaker: Jeremy Wright with his talk on using WordPress MU with b5media.

The day really was a blast, and it was probably even more fun meeting some of the great people attending than it was to hear all of the speakers.

Also: it turns out Ashley really likes this whole podcasting thing. We may have to keep her on!

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or just grab the podcast RSS feed if you don’t use iTunes for listening to podcasts (both AAC and MP3 flavors available). You can also find past episodes of the Theme Playground WordPress Podcast if you’ve missed an episode or two.

Podcast #6: WordCamp, Day Zero

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WordCamp Chicago

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Ashley (@arae) and I are getting ramped up for WordCamp Chicago tomorrow and recorded a podcast with some of our predictions, expectations, and goals for the weekend.

Some notes and links that we talked about:

  • Ashley and I each talk about our first experience with WordPress, and why we choose it over other CMS options.
  • The WordCamp Chicago speaker’s list is here, and a live search of the Twitter hashtag #wcchicago can be found here.
  • Ashley apparently really wants to meet Mr. Mullenweg.

Be sure and say hey to Ash and I if you see us around this weekend. I’ll be lugging my iPhone and moleskine around, Ashley will be the 5 foot girl taking photos with a D80. Can’t miss us.

We’ll do another podcast on Saturday and Sunday, before packing up and heading home. If you’d like to join in at some point, contact me (Ryan) on Twitter at @ryanimel and we’ll see if we can’t set something up.

Happy WordCamp!

Theme Playground WP Podcast #5

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Podcast art

Derek Fernholz once again joins me to discuss the WordPress projects for the Google Summer of Code and Automattic’s control of blo.gs, among other things.

Links we covered, this time around:

Have something you’d like us to talk about next week? Visit themeplayground.com/drop and leave us a link or two, we’ll be sure to go over them (assuming they are any good!).

Please feel free to send any emails you’d like answered using the contact page. Or, you can call and leave a message at 917-512-7398 ext. 53563. I’ll play the message on the show and answer any questions you might have. Thanks for subscribing and listening!

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or just grab the podcast RSS feed if you don’t use iTunes for listening to podcasts. You can also find past episodes of the Theme Playground WordPress Podcast on the podcasting page (as well as the classic MP3 version of the show), on iTunes.

Theme Playground WP Podcast #4

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Podcast art

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or just grab the podcast RSS feed if you don’t use iTunes for listening to podcasts. You can also find past episodes of the Theme Playground WordPress Podcast on the podcasting page (as well as the classic MP3 version of the show), on iTunes.

Episode #4 is also the first episode where Derek Fernholz joins the podcast, and discusses WordPress news and links with me. You can find him on Twitter at @fernholz.

In this episode, we discussed:

Have something you’d like us to talk about next week? Visit themeplayground.com/drop and leave us a link or two, we’ll be sure to go over them (assuming they are any good!).

Please feel free to send any emails you’d like answered using the contact page. Or, you can call and leave a message at 917-512-7398 ext. 53563. I’ll play the message on the show and answer any questions you might have. Thanks for subscribing and listening!

Theme Playground WordPress Podcast #3

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Podcast art

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or just  grab the podcast RSS feed if you don’t use iTunes for listening to podcasts. You can also find past episodes of the Theme Playground WordPress Podcast on the podcasting page (as well as the classic MP3 version of the show), as well as on iTunes.

Episode #3 is also the first episode where J. D. Bentley joins the podcast, and discusses WordPress news and links with me. You can find him on Twitter at @jdbentley.

In this episode, we discussed:

This was a really fun one to record, and I think J.D. and I both enjoyed doing the show live with a chat room open at the same time. Remember to catch each week’s live recording (tentatively on Thursday evenings) at ThemePlayground.TV.

Theme Playground dot TV logo

Please feel free to send any emails you’d like answered using the contact page. Or, you can call and leave a message at my drop.io site at 917-512-7398 x 53563. I’ll play the message on the show and answer any questions you might have. Thanks for subscribing and listening!

Note: This podcast should now be available in both Enhanced (AAC) and classic (MP3) format. Let me know if you have any trouble with the feed and/or audio, and I’ll get it taken care of ASAP.