With the release of iOS 11, Apple supports new podcasting tags for your podcast RSS feed. Here's how you can start using them today.
What are the new and updated iTunes tags for podcasts?
At WWDC 2017, Apple announced iOS 11 and released information about new tags being added to the iTunes podcasting spec and coming support in the Apple Podcasts app.
<itunes:type>(show/channel level): “episodic” for non-chronological episodes that will behave as they have for years and download the latest episode, or “serial” for chronological episodes that should be consumed oldest to newest.
<itunes:episodeType>(episode/item level): “full” for normal episodes; “trailer” to promote an upcoming show, season, or episode; or “bonus” for extra content related to a show, season, or episode.
<itunes:title>(episode/item level): only the episode title—no episode number, season number, or show title. This can be used with any show and episode type.
<itunes:episode>(episode/item level): any number to indicate the current episode number, which can be relative to the entire show (like “316”), or relative to the current season (like “5”). This can be used with any show and episode type.
<itunes:season>(episode/item level): any number to indicate the season in which this episode belongs. This can be used with any show and episode type.
<itunes:summary>(episode/item level): this updated (but not new) tag is best for a short description of your episode. It will display above the full show notes.
<content:encoded>(episode/item level): this updated (but not new) tag is for your full show notes. It will display below the title and summary.
Listen to my episode 310, “Apple's iOS 11, Podcast Analytics, and Podcasting Spec Update,” for more information about these new and updated tags.
Using the new iTunes tags in PowerPress
If you're using WordPress with the PowerPress plugin to generate your RSS feed, the following steps will help you enable the new podcast tags for iTunes. You will probably notice red “new!” text next to the new options.
- Login to your WordPress admin dashboard.
- If you aren't already PowerPress 7.1 or later, go to Dashboard > Updates and update PowerPress (you may have to click “Check Again” if the update isn't listed yet.)
- Go to PowerPress > Settings > iTunes tab.
- Set “iTunes Type” to “Episodic” or “Serial.”
- Then go to the Episodes tab.
- Checkmark the new tags you want to use: “iTunes Summary Field” (old, but new behavior), “iTunes Episode Title Field,” and “iTunes Episode Number, Season and Type Fields.”
- Click Save Changes.
- Create or edit a post.
- Scroll to the “Podcast Episode” widget.
- If you're changing an already-published episode, checkmark “Modify existing podcast episode.”
- Enter the appropriate information in the new “iTunes episode” and “iTunes title” fields.
- Enter a one- or two-sentence description in “iTunes Summary” or leave blank to use your excerpt (if written) or a truncated version of your show notes.
- Click Update or Publish when you're finished editing your post.
Using the new iTunes tags in Libsyn
If you use Libsyn to host your media and manage your podcast RSS feed, the following steps will help you use the new podcast tags for iTunes.
- Login to your Libsyn account and show.
- Click on Settings in the menu.
- Scroll down to iTunes Show Type and choose between “Episodic” and “Serial.”
- Click Save.
- Go to Content and either “Add New Episode” or “Previously Published” to find an already published episode to update.
- Go to the Details tab.
- Enter your full show notes in the “Description” box.
- Scroll to “iTunes Optimization” and enter the appropriate information in the new “iTunes Title,” “Episode Type,” “Season Number,” and “Episode Number” fields.
- Enter a one- or two-sentence description in “iTunes Summary” or leave blank to use a truncated version of your “description.”
- Click Publish when you're finished editing your post.
Using the new iTunes tags with a different podcast-publishing system
PowerPress and Libsyn are my top recommendations for creating and managing a podcast feed. As other podcast-publishing platforms add support for the new tags, their processes will each be different. However, you will probably see the new tags in these places:
- Show-level settings to set “iTunes Type” to either “Episodic” or “Serial.”
- Episode-publishing and updating interface for the additional tags:”Episode Type,” “iTunes Title,” “Season Number,” and “Episode Number.”
You can probably expect to not see these new features in FeedBurner's SmartCast or SoundCloud.
Apple gave enough advanced notice and documentation of the new tags that if your podcast-publishing system doesn't support them by the time iOS 11 is released in fall 2017, then I recommend switching to Blubrry or Libsyn and use my affiliate promo code “noodle” to get a free month.
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