When it comes to podcasts, one of the most common questions asked is, “What’s the best podcast hosting site?”
Although there are lots of fantastic services out there, we think the more important question is:
“What should you be looking for from your podcast hosting platform?” Answering that will naturally lead you to choose a platform that will be the best fit.
Remember a podcast hosting service performs two essential functions. Firstly, it provides you a means to upload and manage your podcasts along with generating your RSS feed and submitting your show to listening apps. More importantly, a podcast hosting service almost acts as your podcast marketing, growth, discovery, and monetization tool.
But what’s the difference between a typical hosting platform and a corporate hosting platform?
At the end of the day, the two are going to perform the same core functionalities, but the difference is going to come through the second essential function we mentioned: podcast marketing, growth, discovery, and monetization. Brands typically have different goals, processes, and metric tracking than an independent creator. For that reason, it’s smart for brands to search for corporate podcast hosting platforms that have the ability to adapt to their needs.
For brands, some key questions to ask before you decide on a podcast hosting platform are:
Not all podcast hosting platforms are created equal, and you should consider many factors when selecting a hosting platform for your brand (including answers to the questions above!).
Choosing a reliable platform is paramount to not only managing your podcast workflow but also helping you grow your audience. So, keep reading and we will break down the key factors that you should be considering.
When selecting a podcast hosting platform, storage and bandwidth capabilities are definitely not the shiniest feature but one of the most important to look into.
This feature will impact so many aspects of your show – everything from how many episodes you can release weekly / monthly, how many old episodes your audience can access to how many people can download an episode at any given time.
Remember, as your audience grows, so will your bandwidth needs, so you must pick a hosting platform that can grow alongside you. Depending on the hosting platform, pricing may be based on the number of listeners you have or storage that you need, and other prices based on the number of shows you’re hosting, it’s up to you to decide which fits your budget best!
Although a website isn’t a dealbreaker for your podcast, it's a great way to promote your show, boost visibility on search engines, and engage followers as you scale. We suggest a podcast hosting site that can integrate easily with your existing website.
Some podcast hosts actually offer the option to create a personalized site for you. If your company is interested in this feature and creating a personalized site for your branded podcast, make sure it also has the capability to integrate with your domain and RSS feed.
When it comes to websites, we’ve seen brands do both options - integrating the podcast with an existing website such as Indigo’s Well Said podcast, or creating a new website specifically for the podcast such as creative agency, PB&J’s podcast website Commerce Chefs.
Any brand understands the importance of data, especially the marketing team. When investing in a podcast hosting platform, analyzing the type of podcast analytics that you’ll be gathering from it is key.
Analytics provides key insights about your show which you can then use to better reach listeners and create content they want to hear. They give you valuable info on how to maximize results while minimizing wasted time, energy, and budget.
Make sure that the analytics provided by the podcasting hosting site are IAB Certified, or at least IAB Compliant. The IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau) has set standards that a majority of podcast hosts use when looking at analytics to ensure the data is accurate.
Aside from just having access to the right analytics, the next step is to put them into a report in order to present performance and findings to your team, leadership, or clients. Whether it’s a feature in the hosting platform or service from your account manager, ensure that it’s easy to pull key data from your dashboards and able to measure podcast ROI.
Most podcast hosts provide a media player to let listeners stream your show online, typically through a website. You’ll receive an embeddable code that you can paste into the backend of your podcast's website. Then it will appear online for listeners to stream your podcast.
Pay close attention to how the media player your potential host provides looks and functions in terms of ease of use. Some players will be more beautifully designed or intuitive than others and also offer customization where you can brand the player to your company.
Also, make sure your audience can easily share your podcast on social channels or subscribe to your podcast using your podcast host media player. This functionality will increase the chances of growing your audience over the long term.
Podcast hosting features aren’t any good if you don’t know how to use them. We suggest that before investing in a platform, to do your research and a deep dive into learning how they work and the unique features that are valuable to your brand. Learning a bit about the backend as well as dashboard features will help you better manage your podcast, media files, reporting, and also have an understanding of the lingo before committing.
In addition, corporate podcast hosting platforms will typically offer packages that have a dedicated account manager. This is a great service add-on for brands in particular since it helps to save your team time when it comes to setting up and managing your show. It also provides you with a point of contact if you have any questions, requires additional functionalities, or need tech support.
It’s important to look for platforms that allow you to transcribe your show or at least have partnerships with tools to transcribe your content. Having written transcripts of your show have countless benefits, they help with boosting SEO performance and increase visibility on search engines, they make your show more accessible for listeners that might have hearing impairments, and lastly, they’re great for repurposing content.
If your show is transcribed, it can be formatted into blog posts, social assets, and a host of other things that can help draw in more potential listeners. Plus, going with a hosting platform that already has built-in transcription services, saves you the headache of having to do it in-house or adding another tool to your marketing stack.
Not all brands will need to have this feature but it’s still a great add-on to look for. If you’re a smaller brand, then maybe you’ll be interested in testing out ad insertion on other podcasts or maybe even offer some on your own (although this is uncommon since your branded podcast acts as an advertisement for your own brand so many are not looking to advertise another one on it).
Depending on your team’s marketing budget, the cost may not be a large concern for you. But for other brands, budget can be top of mind, especially if they’re still testing the audio waters.
Most podcast hosts, free and paid, will provide you with basic features like an RSS feed as well as analytics. But as your podcast grows and evolves, you'll need more than just the bare bones. Understanding what a podcast hosting platform has to offer from the start will make things easier for you when further along in your brand’s podcast journey.
But remember, virtually all the good providers offer monthly subscriptions and a discount for long-term committers. We personally suggest investing some money in a paid subscription. Many podcast hosts have tiered pricing, which can give you an idea of how much you should budget for hosting in the future as your podcast gains popularity and you need more resources to support it.
Now that we’ve broken down all the things to look for when choosing your corporate podcast hosting platform, we wanted to end with a few suggestions of ones we recommend:
Choosing the podcast hosting platform for your program can be the difference between a mediocre or a great show. When planning for your podcast, put aside time and a healthy budget to get the best podcast hosting platform (you don’t want to cut corners here!).
A team of driven podcast experts, the CoHost marketing teams goal is to provide content to help brands boost podcast growth, understand their data, and equip themselves with the resources necessary to scale.