As businesses look for new and effective ways to engage customers, many are exploring how to advance their content marketing strategy into brand publishing. As publishers, brands form connections through high-quality stories created by talented journalists, photographers, videographers, and illustrators. Content is continually created and shared to cultivate a stable audience and build long-term brand awareness and growth.
One distribution format that is gaining traction among brand publishers is podcasts — not only are they relatively inexpensive to produce, but they have growing consumer interest. According to Edison Research and Triton Digital, roughly 55% of Americans (or 155 million people) have listened to a podcast — up from 23% a decade earlier. And there are now over 800,000 active podcasts with over 54 million episodes available worldwide. From news and history to true crime and culture, podcasts span every subject and interest.
But podcast distribution entails managing feeds to a variety of networks — including iHeart, Google, Spotify, Tunein, Stitcher, iTunes, and more — which can be time-consuming. Any Widen customer can use our digital asset management (DAM) software, the Widen Collective®, to streamline their podcast production process and publish content efficiently across various networks. To explain how, let’s look at an example from a Widen customer.
We sat down with David Anthony, a technology consultant for a nonprofit media organization and Widen customer. This company has a massive radio presence, including a daily broadcast that is redistributed to radio stations throughout the world. It’s also packaged as a podcast and fed via RSS to six networks.
Maintaining these individual feeds required manual updates. Not only was this a tedious process but each feed displayed the podcast metadata differently. The broadcast title or description would vary from network to network. David knew there was an opportunity to improve this distribution process, and that they could do it with the Widen API.
Publish from a central source of truth
David was part of the team that selected and implemented the Collective for this Widen customer several years ago. He has since used the Widen API to distribute their audio content through voice-assisted technology like Alexa. You can read all about how they did it in this blog article.
David knew that he could use the API in a similar way to publish podcast content to various networks, by pulling everything from the Collective. With all of the podcast content stored in a central location, the API can push it to various systems — including broadcast channels, web platforms, voice-assistant technology, and podcast networks. To support the podcast workflow they added four metadata fields:
- Schedule date - tells the API to only pull current content
- Site permission - indicates where the content should be posted (web, podcast network, etc.)
- Podcast channel - allows the content to be pushed to specific feeds, if needed
- Image - contains code (a CDN embed link) to generate a 1400 x 14000 image to display with the podcast feed
David said the tricky part was that they needed to create two feeds: one for the show feed itself, and another for the episodes. The metadata fields above capture what is needed for the episode feed. They created a similar setup for delivering the podcast feed.
Using the Collective and Widen’s API to automate podcast distribution saves David’s team valuable time and resources, every day. They no longer need to make manual updates in multiple places and are happy that the podcast title and description is now consistent wherever it is published.
And believe it or not, David’s team was able to build this integration very quickly. “I’ve seen similar integration projects take six months. Ours took two weeks. Widen does a great job at enabling those on the content and tech side to deliver in a relatively short time,” David shared.
For those considering a similar project, David suggests starting with the current RSS feed specifications for each network. He said that they are each slightly different and very particular, and can be a little hard to track down.
He also recommended that teams give thoughtful consideration to the metadata fields that will be needed. Having these finalized will help streamline the rest of the project.
David shared, “Widen’s API is phenomenal. What you can query, what you can return, all the data it does return — it’s great. If it’s in the DAM you can get it. It works for everything.”
If you are interested in learning more about how Widen’s API can be used to distribute podcast content — or support any customer integration — just drop us a line! We’d love to talk about how the Widen Collective can be used to support your unique workflows.