A message to new podcasters about titles and ID3 tags.

I just posted this to a forum, but thought I’d post it here too, so I can link to it easily when asked for podcasting advice.

Sort out your titles and ID3 tags right now!

Not every single person downloads podcasts via iTunes, which re-titles and stores the audio files using the information in the RSS feed. Many, many, many people, even regular listeners, download each episode with their browser, then transfer the file to a player.

So the following instructions goes for anyone starting a new podcast. You know the name of your podcast, right? Good. Now make sure you do the following from the very first episode:

– Begin the file name with the name of your podcast. If the name is really long, go for an acronym.
– The next part of your file name should be the episode number. This should be at least three digits long. Start with 001.
– The last part of your file name should be the topic or title of the episode.

If you do the above, the collected files from your podcast line up perfectly in any list of files and on immediate import into any software. If you start at “1” and go on to “2”, when you get to “11” it’ll be listed before “2” in many situations.

And so, even without ID3 tag information, your listeners will be able to quickly see what is what.

On to ID3 tags:

– Make sure the “genre” is set to “Podcast”! Many podcasts are categorized as a blues track! WTF?
– Make sure the track number matches the episode number.
– List the hosts and the guests in Artist category.
– Make sure the album info is the same in EVERY podcast from the first episode on.
– Set the year to the year you published the podcast.
– Adding artwork is good, but not crucial. iTunes and iPods like it though, as they display really nicely.

By the way, all of this takes seconds in iTunes. The only problem is that it can change the name of the file (not a bad thing) to include the track number at the start (the bad thing). In this case, just copy the file to a different location and change the name before you upload it.

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