Podcasting for Preachers: Broadcasting

In a separate post, I provided a guide for recording your sermons. First a clarification. You can take this digital recording of your sermon and post it on the church website. That is nice and helpful - but it is not podcasting.

Podcasting is providing a way for people to have your latest audio recording it delivered directly to their mobile device.

You've got your sermon as a digital recording - as an mp3 file - that is the first half of the process. Next up, getting your audio file onto the mobile devices of your listeners. (go back to the previous post if you don't yet have this first step).

Step 2: Find a Host
You will need a host. Someone who can store your audio files. If you have a sermon blog hosted by Wordpress, you can upload your mp3 directly to your wordpress site. This is an ok way to get your post online, but it adds some steps.

A better option is to use a podcasting service. I personally use Buzzsprout, and am extremely happy with the service. Many people also use Libyn, which is another good service. You can google "podcast hosting" and you will see that there are many options, with a variety of services provided. Some are free, and some charge a nominal fee.

Protip - Who Owns Your Sermons? Many pastors choose to host their podcast exclusively through their congregation. I understand why. It makes it easier to integrate into the congregational website, and the congregation can pick up the tab in the communications budget. I would advice that you pay for your own hosting service. That way, whenever you leave the congregation for a new call, your sermons come with you rather than remaining at your previous congregation.

Step 3: Provide a Feed
Whether you use Wordpress, Buzzsprout, or another host, your host will provide you with what is called an RSS feed. It should look something like this:

Many podcasters use Google's feedburner service as well. You give feedburner your RSS feed, and it cleans up the feed and makes it easier for people to subscribe. Go to http://feedburner.google.com, and enter your RSS feed into the "Burn my feed this instant" box. Tell feedburner that you are a podcaster, and they will give you options to optimize your feed. The final product looks something like my sermon feed:

Now you have a podcast feed. But you still need people to know about it.

Step 4: Publicize
How will people know that you have a podcast?
The best and most widespread way is through iTunes. Open the iTunes application. Go to iTunes Store. Navigate to "Podcasts" at top menu, then "Submit Podcast" on right menu. They will walk you through the next steps. (Note: Many podcasting host sites will submit to iTunes for you - which is very convenient!). People will be able to seach iTunes and find your sermons, and you can also point people to your iTunes page.

Share the link to your iTunes page, as well as to your RSS feed, in all of your networks. Have your webmaster integrate it into your congregational website. Check with your podcast host - many of them will provide a podcast player that you can insert in your website. (Here is what our podcast player looks like on the St. John website).

Are you podcasting your sermons? Provide a link in the comments - I love listening to other preachers!