At Captivate, our goal is simple - we want to help podcasters like you grow, no matter where you are in your podcasting journey. From gaining subscribers to working with sponsors, and making your show super easy to promote, we're here for you!
But, of course, none of that happens without any shows or episodes, which is why we've made it super easy to upload and publish your episodes to Captivate.
Let's break it down!
Uploading your episode
When you have your fully recorded and edited episode ready to share with the world, it’s time to upload it!
When you're logged into your Captivate dashboard, click the Publish Episode link at the top right. This will open up your publish screen which looks like this:
Simply drag your new episode's MP3 file from your computer into the dotted area, then click the Upload Audio File button.
If you don't have your audio file ready just yet but want to prepare the rest of your episode, no problem! Just click the Skip media upload link and upload your audio file later.
Publish your episode
When you click the Upload Audio File button, this will open up the Publish a New Episode screen. This is where you can add more details about the show, including Episode Title, Show Notes, and more.
Each section on the Publish Show page offers you the chance to optimize your show for your listeners, the various podcasting listening apps, search engine optimization (SEO), and more!
Let's dig in to each option, starting on the left side of the screen first!
Episode art: As a default, the image you chose for your show when creating your Captivate Account will be the default one used for every episode. Nice and easy.
You can also create unique episode art for each episode (perhaps to highlight a guest or topic). To change the artwork, simply drag the image you wish to use (we recommend .jpg, .jpeg, or .png files) into the artwork area.
Current audio file: This is the MP3 file you uploaded. If you need to change the audio file - a new edit, or an updated episode - simply tick the Replace the audio file on this episode checkbox, and follow the steps you took for uploading your original file. The new file will replace the previous one. Simple! 😁
Publish date and time: Here is where you select the date and time you want your podcast episode to be published.
You can schedule multiple episodes ahead of time, you can click on the little calendar icon next to the current date, and choose your preferred publish date and time.
If these fields are left unchanged, your episode will publish as soon as you click the Publish button.
Note: this action changes the Publish button to a Schedule Episode one instead.
Exclude this episode from feed: if you have an episode that you wish to only share with a certain audience - newsletter subscribers, membership course, etc - you can use this option to stop a specific episode from appearing on public platform apps. Only people with the link to the show will be able to listen to it.
Set episode expiration date: there may come a time when you only want an episode to appear for a certain amount of time (a limited time offer, an excitement builder for a new show, for example). When you check the box for this option, you can choose the day and time this episode disappears from your show's feed. Neat!
Collections: if you've created a Collection (or multiple Collections) for your show, you can add your episode to the relevant Collection here.
Episode title: this is your episode's unique title. You can call it anything you want, but try and make it catchy and something that grabs people's attention! Also, think of what people might search for when looking for a show, and name accordingly. Example:
- SEO for Your Podcast
- Podcast SEO 101: The Future of Podcast Discoverability?
Which one do you think would get more listeners, and help people find your show when searching online? Hint: it's not the first one! 😜
Episode subtitle: currently, not a lot of podcast apps use episode subtitles, so this is just if you really want to add some more context about your show. However, if you do use this, be aware it can look a bit confusing depending on what podcast app your listener is using.
Display a different episode number on Apple Podcasts: this is useful for Apple Podcasts if you want your show's title to not display an episode number, and you want to test how episode titles impact how people are finding your show on Apple.
Episode show notes: show notes are a great way to let your listener know what to expect from your episode, as well as offer takeaways from the episode, links to connect elsewhere, download resources, and more.
These can be as long or as short as you wish, but some of the key things to include on each episode are:
- A short introduction to the episode and its content/guest
- Takeaways for the listener - a good best practice is 3-4 key points
- Resources and links for any topics discussed on the show
- Links to where listeners can connect with you or your guest(s)
To save you time with creating your show notes, make sure you use the Snippets option to add pre-formatted content that is used in every episode.
Note: Check out how to create and manage show note snippets
Apple Podcasts episode summary: While show notes are great for really selling your episode, Apple Podcasts has a bit of a formatting issue with show notes, where it essentially "stacks" your non-formatted show notes on top of the formatted version.
This results in some weird-looking text when looking at your show on Apple Podcasts. To avoid this, tick the checkbox to create a short, 2-3 sentence summary of your episode. This will ensure your episode not only looks great, but grabs the attention of potential listeners.
Episode type: here you can choose between Normal, Bonus, or Trailer. The difference between each is:
- Normal is your default, and is a full episode released as part of your show
- Bonus is extra content. This could be bloopers, exclusive content, upcoming episodes, etc.
- Trailer enables you to create a trailer for your full show, to let potential listeners know what to expect. Depending on what podcast app your show is on, this may appear at the top of your show by default.
Season number: podcasts usually fall within two categories - episodic or serial/season. Episodic are standalone shows that can be listened to in any order.
Serial, however, are part of an ongoing series, and can be broken down into seasons (much like your favourite TV shows!). This option lets you display what season the episode is part of.
Episode number: this lets you choose which episode number you're publishing. This helps both listeners catch up on shows they've missed, and podcast apps differentiate in what order an episode should be displayed.
Mark as explicit: this is an important option to make sure you get right! If your episode has any profanity in it, you need to set it as explicit. This will ensure only an age-appropriate audience will see it. Note: Apple can remove your episode from Apple Podcasts if your show is not properly age-gated!
Episode page SEO: this is where you can really optimize your show for maximum visibility on search engines. Think of your listeners, what they'd be searching for, and how your episode answers that.
Note: Episode page SEO is only shown if you use Captivate Sites or the Captivate Sync plugin.
- SEO Title: try using an informative and authoritative title. "10 Insider Podcast SEO Tips To Optimize Your Podcast" versus "SEO Tips For Podcasts".
- SEO Description: this is the little box that shows up on search results, and enables you to expand on your title to offer more information on your episode, while including the type of keywords people search for on Google.
- Episode Slug: this is the URL for your episode if you use a Captivate-powered website for your show. This will auto-complete with your SEO Title, but you can change it to your own preference.
Note: Head on over to our YouTube channel for more SEO tutorials and How Tos for Podcasters.
Episode URL: if you don't use Captivate Sites or the Captivate Sync plugin, you can enter the URL for where your episode is published on your self-hosted site. This ensures anyone clicking the episode title via the RSS feed or on a podcast app will be taken to that specific page on your site.
And that's it! You're ready to hit that publish button, safe in the knowledge that your show notes are on point, your SEO is ready to drive listeners to your show, and your new episode is looking and sounding the best it can!
Recommended Reading: Podcast Analytics with Captivate - Overview