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The Audacity to Podcast

Daniel J. Lewis

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Giving you the guts and teaching you the tools to start and grow your own podcast for passion or PROFIT!


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You already know that your podcast needs top-level cover art to look great in all the podcast apps and directories. You can also further enhance the experience for your audience, create promotional assets, and reinforce your branding by making unique artwork for each episode. But you need to compensate for how each app might display the episode image (especially Apple Podcasts).

Please share this episode with anyone struggling to make their episode artwork appear!

Quick tips for episode artwork

There are a bunch of different images you could make for your podcast and individual episodes (I've previously talked about 7). Here are a few quick guidelines for episode images.

  • Follow the same specs as podcast cover art: 1,400- to 3,000-pixel square, RGB color, JPEG or PNG, and smaller than 512 KB (preferably closer to 200 KB).
  • Keep your branding as consistent as possible: fonts, colors, layout, icons, mood, and such.
  • Include your logo or podcast name, but it doesn't have to be as prominent.
  • Focus the artwork on the episode's title and simple imagery that supports that title and the episode's content.
  • Ensure the most important parts can be understood if you shrink the artwork to a 1-inch (2.5-cm) square, but most episode artwork will display almost as wide as your smartphone's screen.
  • Remember that this artwork will show most prominently in the “now playing” interface of the app, possibly the lock screen, and possibly an attached device (like a smartwatch, TV, or in-car display).

Now that you have episode artwork, there are three places you should put it to make it show up in podcast apps.

1. ID3 tags

Audio files can have metadata embedded in the files through the “ID3 tags.” This includes the title, author, chapters, other text, and images.

(Aside: I couldn't find that “ID3” actually stands for anything!)

Overcast and several other podcast apps use the image inside your ID3 tags. Some automations (such as Zapier,, webpage-embedded players, and platform importers) also use the image in the ID3 tags.

Any ID3 editor should let you add at least one image (and I recommend adding only one to your ID3 tags). Here are the ID3 editors I recommend:

  • ID3 Editor from PA Software ($15, Windows and macOS)—This was the best $15 I've spent in podcasting!
  • iTunes (free; Windows, OS X, and macOS up to 10.14) / Apple Music (macOS 10.15 and later)
  • Mp3Tag (free for Windows, $19.99 for macOS)
  • Your podcast-hosting provider's built-in tagging tools

This should be the first and most important place for your episode artwork. Even if you don't make unique images for each episode, make sure your episodes always include your main podcast cover art in the ID3 tags.

2. RSS feed

There are two RSS tags that can hold your episode-level artwork: the <itunes:image> tag from Apple's “iTunes namespace,” and the <podcast:images> tag from the Podcasting 2.0 “podcast namespace.”

You'll see these (especially the legacy tag from the “iTunes namespace”) at the top level for your whole podcast (called “channel-level”), and they can also be used for individual episodes (called “item-level”). These link out to the cover art hosted somewhere.

Like with all things Podcasting 2.0, the <podcast:images> tag lets you do more! You can already specify different images for different sizes. For example, an image with only an icon at 150 pixels wide, an image with the title and icon at 600 pixels wide, and an image with more at 1,200 pixels wide. There might be other features in the future, too!

Interjection: Apple Podcasts still won't display episode artwork

Ironically, Apple Podcasts doesn't actually display episode images from RSS feeds using Apple's own namespace tag! Their documentation even still encourages using it for an “episode-specific image you would like listeners to see”!

Episode tag: <itunes:image>

Parent tag: <item>

The episode artwork.

You should use this tag when you have a high quality, episode-specific image you would like listeners to se...

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01/25/23 • 14 min

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If you ever have a guest on your podcast, you might be wondering where to put their name. Here are some things to consider for your own podcast.

Is your guest well-known to your audience?

“Celebrities” come in all sizes and niches. So consider whether they'll be known to a broad audience, or even to your own audience.

For example, imagine you have a podcast about dogs and you invite me as a guest. Even though I've had a couple of dogs, I'm known for talking about podcasting and helping podcasters. So your audience wouldn't know me. And any “celebrity” or influencer status I might have is constrained to a couple of small niches, and “dogs” is not one of them.

Since my name would not be known to your audience or niche in this case, you could deprioritize it in your episode title or remove it altogether.

And if you have a guest whose celebrity status is mainstream—like Elon Musk, Michelle Obama, President Donald Trump, or Tim Cook—then definitely put their name prominently in your episode title!

Consider your SEO

Proper and ethical techniques for search engine optimization (SEO) can help your podcast be found for relevant searches. And one such relevant search might be your guest's name.

This usually works better for names of people outside of mass popularity. For example, while Pat Flynn is not a mainstream celebrity, he's been a guest on so many podcasts and there's been so much content about him that you probably wouldn't receive much of an SEO boost by being yet another podcast that interviews Pat Flynn. Thus, there's not as much SEO value in his name alone anymore.

However, if there's someone strongly associated with your own niche and known within it, then their name could provide huge SEO benefit to your podcast. For example, if you interview a cast member from a TV show you podcast about. They're probably a true celebrity, but there's not a flood of content about them and interviews with specifically that one person. So the associations with their name can help boost your SEO.

Consider your guest's SEO

Now flip this around and think about the value you offer to your guest.

Sidenote: having guests on your podcast should be primarily about the value they bring to your audience and the value you can give them, and much less about the value they might give you.

If you can focus your conversation around your guest's expertise (and I recommend that you do!), then having their name in your descriptive episode title will help boost their SEO, authority, and influence. This works by associating those special keywords in your title with their name.

Let's go back to the example of having me on your podcast about dogs. Although I like dogs (and they're much better than cats!), that's not a subject for which I'm trying to build any authority or influence. Thus, I would be less interested in having my name associated with the subject. But if you have me on your podcast to talk about getting more podcast reviews, that is a subject I want to be known for and would appreciate having my name associated with those relevant keywords.

(Speaking of podcast reviews! Are you still manually checking for all your reviews and giving complicated or alienating instructions to your audience? Check out My Podcast Reviews to save you tons of time tracking your reviews, and get awesome new tools to help you get and use more podcast reviews!)

Consider what's more important: the what, or the who?

First, recognize that every person has value—no matter their niche, skills, size, status, and such. So I'm not referring to whether they are important as a person. Instead, I mean what's most important in the context of your podcast content and your audience.

For example, if you could get an interview on your podcast with Elon Musk, Michelle Obama, President Donald Trump, or Tim Cook, that would probably be far more exciting than whatever they're talking about! Look at what happened when Marc Maron got to interview President Barack Obama. It reached 1 million downloads faster than any other episode ever at that time! And that's because of who the guest was more than what he was talking about. Lots of people who didn't normally listen to Marc Maron's show listened to that one episode because they wanted to hear whatever that guest said in the podcast.

But if you have little me on your podcast about dogs, what I share in your podcast would be more important for your podcast and your audience than who I am. And let's be honest: with such a podcast, the audience proba...

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09/28/22 • 42 min

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The podcasting industry has grown a lot since its birth in 2004, but the core of what a podcast could be and what it could do hasn't changed much. Now, Podcasting 2.0 revolutionizes the industry with highly requested innovations that will help everyone on all sides of the RSS feeds.

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11/30/22 • 20 min

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Your podcast episodes don't have to "expire" once the next episode is released. With some strategy, you can use your old episodes to continue growing and engaging your audience!

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05/05/20 • 41 min

Even though podcasting is usually an audio-only experience, attractive images can enhance your podcast branding and help you promote your podcast better!

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01/11/23 • 18 min

Should you publish your podcast episodes on a particular day of the week, avoid the weekends, publish on popular days, or something else?

In short: publish the same day as your previous episode.

(Watch for my next episode and article about the best time of day to publish!)

1. Consistency

Consistency is more important than the day itself. Even consistency down to the same minute of the same hour! This is because some legacy systems, including Apple Podcasts, try to learn your publishing schedule so they know when to expect new episodes and can catch them more quickly when you publish.

These kinds of legacy processes (and especially the not-so-smart ones) require a lot of server computing power, but they can be replaced with the much faster and resource-conserving Podping protocol in Podcasting 2.0. (That's where apps and services get pings about your updates within seconds of your publishing the update.)

So first consider what day you can publish on with 100% consistency (except for hiatuses). And don't worry about managing this yourself! All the good podcast-publishing systems let you schedule when your episodes will publish so they can go out “on the dot” and without your presence.

2. Consider your audience

After consistency, think about what might work best for your audience. While content for business people is generally best in the middle of the work week and probably not on the weekends, people are interested in hobbies and entertainment at all times (but may be too engaged in the hobby/entertainment on the weekends).

The point isn't necessarily to publish on the exact day they will play your episode, but to ensure it's ready for them to watch or hear soon after you publish.

However, consistency is still more important because your audience will adapt and might even start to expect your episodes on whatever day you choose.

3. Consider your content

What you talk about might have an inherent schedule or routine to it.

In addition to considering business-focused versus hobby-focused content, consider the rhythm of your topic. For example, a weekly TV show, weekly news wrap-ups, and such.

For subjects that already have a consistent schedule, I recommend recording and publishing your content about halfway between each occurrence. This gives your audience enough time to catch the recurring thing your talk about, enough time to send feedback for your episode, and enough time to play your episode before the next recurring thing happens. Because these things could occur on any day of the week, your podcast about it could also be any day of the week that's around the halfway point, but still consider the other factors I've already mentioned.

If you publish too long after the thing you're talking about, your audience might not have a chance to play your episode, or they might even forget the details of the things you're talking about.

4. Consider your “competition”

Lastly, find other podcasts covering your same subject and consider when they publish.

You'll see studies that show the most popular days for publishing episodes. But that doesn't mean you should publish on those days or even avoid those days. If you're going to look at when other podcasts publish, look only at other podcasts in your same niche and ignore the rest.

You could try publishing before them to try getting your content played first.

You could try publishing after them to ensure your content is unique, cross-references, improves, or is the “last word.”

And you might try to avoid publishing on the same day as others in your niche so your audience doesn't get overwhelmed on that day and choose to skip your episode.

5. Your audience will do whatever they want

Lastly, remember that podcasting is time-shifted, so your audience might hear or watch your episode days, weeks, months, or even years later. And this has little to nothing to do with the “downloads versus streams” debate.

This is why I give these things only as considerations, but consistency is still the most important thing.

I'm available to help you podcast!

If you need one-on-one help or you haven't launched your podcast, yet, click here to request a personal coaching and consulting session with me and I'd love the opportunity to help you podcast better!

Ask your questions or share your feedback

  • Comment on the show notes
  • Leave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221
  • Email (audio files welcome)

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Are There Too Many Podcasts?

The Audacity to Podcast


04/28/20 • 30 min

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On Friday, April 17, 2020, Apple Podcasts surpassed 1 million valid podcasts in their catalog. So have we reached "peak podcast"? Is it too late to start a podcast? Will your podcast only be lost in the sea of over 1 million other podcasts?

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05/12/20 • 26 min

Do you podcast for the fun or art of it, or to build a business?

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11/23/22 • 15 min

You might think your audience should thank YOU for all the work you put into your podcast, but how often do you thank THEM?

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02/08/23 • 20 min

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Whether you're a guest on someone else's podcast, you're promoting your latest episode on social networks, or you're making marketing materials for your podcast, you might be wondering which link you should use to share your podcast.

  • Website homepage?
  • Apple Podcasts link?
  • Spotify link?
  • Tell them to find your podcast?
  • An episode webpage?
  • Your RSS feed?
  • A YouTube video?
  • A third-party landing page (like or LinkTree)?

To address this properly, you need to first decide whether to share your whole podcast, or only a specific episode.

Share your podcast link for general promotion to new audiences

“General promotion” is when you're telling someone to follow your podcast and you're not promoting a specific episode. For example, when you get to mention your podcast on another podcast (if you're not talking about the same thing as one of your episodes), in your digital or print marketing materials (business cards, banners, ads, swag, and such), or when you're making any other kind of general promotion for your show as a whole.

I suggest the following guidelines for the scenarios you'll typically face.

1. Promote your website when you need simplicity

Your podcast needs its own domain! Make sure it's branded to your podcast and points to a page that has multiple follow options: most importantly, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, something popular for Android (Google Podcasts or, and your RSS feed URL.

It would be best for the page to detect the person's type of device and automatically show or hide links appropriately. For example, hiding Apple Podcasts from Android devices (since there's no Apple Podcasts app for Android—at least not yet) but showing Google Podcasts or And then doing the converse for Apple devices: showing Apple Podcasts but hiding the Android-only options. This requires some complicated backend code. So the easiest solution I recommend for you is the page you get when your track your podcast with the My Podcast Reviews service I created for you.

An example of smartly switching options depending on the user's device, from

If possible, don't actually link to your RSS feed if you display a plain RSS option. Instead, display the feed URL or—even better—make the link automatically copy the URL to their clipboard when they tap or click the link. (Try it on my own page!)

Whether you create this multi-option page yourself or let another service create it for you, this is the single page you share when you need a simple call-to-action: like when you're a guest on another podcast, on your marketing materials (a typed domain or QR Code), in conversations, and such.

It's essentially “Go here to listen.” Then you're delegating the details and options to the next step.

2. Promote multiple links when the person has the mental and visual space to choose

When people visit your podcast landing page (like I described in the previous point), they have the margin to consider their options and tap or click on what's best for them. You don't want to overwhelm them with options, which is why it's important to show only the options that work on their devices (like you get with the feature from My Podcast Reviews).

And there are contexts where you can promote these multiple options instead of only a single page.

For example:

  • On your website homepage
  • On your episode webpages
  • In your email newsletter
  • On social-network posts

Each of these places might give you enough space to include multiple links with their appropriate labels. For example:

Learn how to start and grow your own podcast by following my podcast, The Audacity to Podcast!

Apple Podcasts:
Google Podcasts:
More options:

This message is still short enough to fit in a tweet. Just remember that some platforms (like Facebook) might embed a widget or “card” for only the first URL. That's great for single-URL posts, but it could be confusing for multi-URL posts like this. If that happens, you can usually “remove the preview” from the post.

3. Rotate links in short-lived contexts

If you post often on a social netw...

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Dec 18

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