Syndication allows your audio/video media associated with episode show notes to be consumed by your listeners/viewers. Syndication for blogging and podcasting is achieved by using RSS feeds. There are many feed formats available, such as RSS 2.0, Atom, RSS 0.92, and RDF, but only RSS 2.0 (RSS2) is supported by podcatchers and podcasting directories including Apple Podcasts.
Learn more about RSS on Wikipedia.org.
Podcast Feeds and WordPress
A podcast feed is like a blog feed with the addition of media associated with each blog post item. We recommend using WordPress for podcasting simply because podcasting is an extension of blogging. WordPress creates RSS feeds for you from the blog posts you create. By adding the Blubrry PowerPress podcasting plugin to WordPress you transform the WordPress blogging platform into a podcasting platform as well.
RSS Feed is not a Web Page
An RSS feed is an XML formatted document that lists blog posts and podcast episodes with the latest post/episode at the top. When viewed in a browser the feed will look like HTML source code. The code is not intended to be viewed as a Web page, Firefox is the only Web browser that formats the feed to make it somewhat readable. Only feed readers, directories and subscription services can properly decipher the contents of the RSS feed.
How the RSS Syndication Works
Podcast syndication (like blog syndication) is simple.
1. Obtain a web location for your podcast feed to reside (your website / your .com). If you are using a platform such as WordPress, the platform will provide this location for you. If your website was example.com, then your podcast feed would be https://example.com/feed/podcast/.
2. Create at least one podcast episode. If you are using WordPress, you will want to add the Blubrry PowerPress podcasting plugin to add podcasting support. A podcast episode in WordPress is nothing more than a blog post with a media file URL linked in the podcast episode box added to the post edit screen. An example media file will look like https://example.com/path/to/media.mp3.
3. Submit your podcast RSS feed to podcast directories such as Apple Podcasts. It is required you have at least one episode, empty feeds cannot be submitted.
4. Every few hours each podcast directory you submit to your RSS feed will reference your feed location to check for new content within the feed. The next time you create a new episode, your feed will be updated with your latest episode at the top. Typically within 24 hours the podcast directories to which you provided your feed location will see the new episode and update your listing.
5. When a podcaster subscribes to your show on most directories, they are subscribing to your RSS feed. So while a directory may be slow to update. Your subscribers will typically have access to your new episode immediately. There are exceptions as some sites like Spotify & Stitcher listeners are dependent on their sites to update. For listeners subscribed via Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts are actually subscribed to your podcast rss feed.
6. Subscribers using most podcast apps will then automatically get your latest episode downloaded to their device as soon as it is available from your site.
RSS Feed vs. Media Files
Media files are referenced within each item (podcast episode) listed in the RSS feed. What happens to the media files depends on the feed reader, podcast directory or subscription service. Apple Podcasts will display the episodes listed in the feed in the form of a list that can be subscribed. The Blubrry podcast directory displays the episodes in a web page and provides a web-based player for optional playback. The media files themselves are typically only downloaded when the feed is subscribed to or the user clicks play.