Creating Your Podcast RSS Feed

All those “How You Can Produce a Podcast” pages on the Internet seem to gloss over what became the most challenging part of the process for us, getting the RSS feed to work right. This page is all about what we tried and how we eventually got it right.

I’ve been producing audio and video programs since high school, so there was nothing mysterious or intimidating to me about creating the audio program that becomes our podcast each week. There’s a full description here on Longleaf Breeze about each step in the process, and you’re welcome to read it if you’re still exploring the audio production challenge.

But the step that slowed me down was getting that RSS feed file to work right. It required new skills and an attention to detail that I think receives too little attention on the web. I did this all manually, because I was curious. If you’re not and want to do it the easy way, consider a feed creation tool like Feed For All that guides you through the process of building your feed. I will caution you, though, that even after you have paid the modest fee for one of these programs, there’s nothing like the experience of really understanding what goes into each line of your RSS feed.

Most podcast feed documents these days model their language on that developed by Harvard and spelled out at RSS 2.0 at Harvard Law. In fact, nearly every podcast RSS feed document still references it as a kind of electronic Rosetta Stone to assist anyone trying to decipher the podcast feed later. If you haven’t done so already, read that document from start to finish. My learning process would have been infinitely simpler had I done so earlier.

Your podcast RSS feed document will be a text document with an .xml suffix. It’s the way iTunes knows to post a new episode, and it tells your listeners what your podcast is about, who authors it, and how to find your web site. The feed document also describes the file size, title, description, and running time of each episode, and of course it also points your listeners to the mp3 file that contains the audio program.

Here’s how our RSS feed document looked after the publication of the third episode. I’m sure it has some dysfluencies in it, but it works, so I’m leaving it alone now. After you create your document, the smartest way I know to find out what needs to change in it is to submit to the free Feed Validator, which will evaluate it and tell you line by line what you need to do to make it work smoothly.

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
<rss
xmlns:itunes=”http://www.itunes.com/dtds/podcast-1.0.dtd”
version=”2.0″>
<channel>
<title>Longleaf Breeze</title>
<description>Weekly update from two beginners learning subsistence organic farming in the South.</description>
<link>http://www.longleafbreeze.com/?page_id=993</link>
<copyright>Lee and Amanda Borden 2009</copyright>
<docs>http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss</docs>
<language>en</language>
<lastBuildDate>Sat, 31 Oct 2009 10:43:30 -0500</lastBuildDate>
<managingEditor>lee@divorceinfo.com (Lee and Amanda Borden)</managingEditor>
<pubDate>Thu, 29 Oct 2009 15:04:30 -0500</pubDate>

<itunes:subtitle>Weekly update from two beginners learning subsistence organic farming in the South.</itunes:subtitle>
<itunes:summary>Weekly update from two beginners learning subsistence organic farming in the South.</itunes:summary>
<itunes:author>Lee and Amanda Borden</itunes:author>
<itunes:owner>
<itunes:name>Lee and Amanda Borden</itunes:name>
<itunes:email>lee@divorceinfo.com (Lee and Amanda Borden)</itunes:email>
</itunes:owner>
<itunes:category text=”Arts”>
<itunes:category text=”Food”/>
</itunes:category>
<itunes:category text=”Health”>
<itunes:category text=”Self-Help”/>
</itunes:category>
<itunes:category text=”Science &amp; Medicine”>
<itunes:category text=”Natural Sciences”/>
</itunes:category>
<itunes:keywords>Longleaf Breeze, subsistence farming, organic farming, gardening, growing food, saving energy, Alabama, Tallassee, Elmore County, resilience, peak oil, climate change</itunes:keywords>
<itunes:image href=”http://www.longleafbreeze.com/podcasts/lee&amp;amandaforitunes.jpg”/>
<itunes:explicit>no</itunes:explicit>
<itunes:block>no</itunes:block>
<image>
<url>http://www.longleafbreeze.com/podcasts/lee&amp;amandaforitunes.jpg</url>
<title>Longleaf Breeze</title>
<link>http://www.longleafbreeze.com/?page_id=993</link>
<description>Lee and Amanda</description>
<width>141</width>
<height>156</height>
</image>

<item>
<title>003 – It’s Gotta Be Fun</title>
<description>Second principle: It’s gotta be fun while we’re doing it, leaving a legacy, progress on the pole barn apartment, rescuing the last watermelon of the season</description>
<link>http://www.longleafbreeze.com/?page_id=1081</link>
<enclosure url=”http://www.longleafbreeze.com/podcasts/003.mp3″ length=”26140511″ type=”audio/mpeg”/>
<guid isPermaLink=”true”>http://www.longleafbreeze.com/podcasts/003.mp3</guid>
<pubDate>Thu, 29 Oct 2009 05:47:14 -0500</pubDate>
<itunes:subtitle>Second principle: It’s gotta be fun while we’re doing it, leaving a legacy, progress on the pole barn apartment, rescuing the last watermelon of the season</itunes:subtitle>
<itunes:summary>Second principle: It’s gotta be fun while we’re doing it, leaving a legacy, progress on the pole barn apartment, rescuing the last watermelon of the season</itunes:summary>
<itunes:duration>21:47</itunes:duration>
<itunes:author>Lee and Amanda Borden</itunes:author>
<itunes:keywords>Second principle: It’s gotta be fun while we’re doing it, leaving a legacy, progress on the pole barn apartment, rescuing the last watermelon of the season</itunes:keywords>
<itunes:explicit>no</itunes:explicit>
<itunes:block>no</itunes:block>
</item>

<item>
<title>002 – Approaching Subsistence</title>
<description>First principle: approaching but never reaching subsistence, deer damage and deer fence, bed matters, progress on the barn</description>
<link>http://www.longleafbreeze.com/?page_id=1020</link>
<enclosure url=”http://www.longleafbreeze.com/podcasts/002.mp3″ length=”25783391″ type=”audio/mpeg”/>
<guid isPermaLink=”false”>CE664917-96A2-410E-BD8F-3CCBF031BE8C</guid>
<pubDate>Thu, 22 Oct 2009 05:47:14 -0500</pubDate>
<itunes:subtitle>First principle: approaching but never reaching subsistence, deer damage and deer fence, bed matters, progress on the barn</itunes:subtitle>
<itunes:summary>First principle: approaching but never reaching subsistence, deer damage and deer fence, bed matters, progress on the barn</itunes:summary>
<itunes:duration>21:29</itunes:duration>
<itunes:author>Lee and Amanda Borden</itunes:author>
<itunes:keywords>First principle: approaching but never reaching subsistence, deer damage and deer fence, bed matters, progress on the barn</itunes:keywords>
<itunes:explicit>no</itunes:explicit>
<itunes:block>no</itunes:block>
</item>

<item>
<title>001 – Deer Fence</title>
<description>Deer Fence, Fall Garden, healthy herbs, African blue basil, banana peppers, okra, tomatoes, watermelons, green beans</description>
<link>http://www.longleafbreeze.com/?page_id=995</link>
<enclosure url=”http://www.longleafbreeze.com/podcasts/001.mp3″ length=”26398271″ type=”audio/mpeg”/>
<guid isPermaLink=”false”>57407711-1DA2-4722-A612-43EDFA77AE44</guid>
<pubDate>Thu, 15 Oct 2009 14:44:42 -0500</pubDate>
<itunes:subtitle>Deer Fence, Fall Garden, healthy herbs, African blue basil, banana peppers, okra, tomatoes, watermelons, green beans</itunes:subtitle>
<itunes:summary>Deer Fence, Fall Garden, healthy herbs, African blue basil, banana peppers, okra, tomatoes, watermelons, green beans</itunes:summary>
<itunes:duration>21:00</itunes:duration>
<itunes:author>Lee and Amanda Borden</itunes:author>
<itunes:keywords>Deer Fence, Fall Garden, healthy herbs, African blue basil, banana peppers, okra, tomatoes, watermelons, green beans</itunes:keywords>
<itunes:explicit>no</itunes:explicit>
<itunes:block>no</itunes:block>
</item>

<item>
<title>000 – Introduction</title>
<description>Welcome, about Lee and Amanda, about Longleaf Breeze, the Three Principles, and the Longleaf Breeze podcast</description>
<link>http://www.longleafbreeze.com/?page_id=1004</link>
<author>lee@divorceinfo.com (Lee Borden)</author>
<enclosure url=”http://www.longleafbreeze.com/podcasts/000.mp3″ length=”12346751″ type=”audio/mpeg”/>
<guid isPermaLink=”false”>F06060A3-4ADB-480B-BC7B-F0BA23062692</guid>
<pubDate>Thu, 15 Oct 2009 13:14:08 -0500</pubDate>
<itunes:subtitle>Welcome, about Lee and Amanda, about Longleaf Breeze, the Three Principles, and the Longleaf Breeze podcast</itunes:subtitle>
<itunes:summary>Welcome, about Lee and Amanda, about Longleaf Breeze, the Three Principles, and the Longleaf Breeze podcast</itunes:summary>
<itunes:duration>10:17</itunes:duration>
<itunes:author>Lee and Amanda Borden</itunes:author>
<itunes:keywords>Welcome, about Lee and Amanda, about Longleaf Breeze, the Three Principles, and the Longleaf Breeze podcast</itunes:keywords>
<itunes:explicit>no</itunes:explicit>
<itunes:block>no</itunes:block>
</item>
</channel>
</rss>

Subscribe to Longleaf Breeze on iTunes

Longleaf Breeze podcast is a weekly review of what’s going on at the farm, with Lee and Amanda Borden. It generally runs 20 minutes or so, and it’s in stereo.
Click the link above to subscribe using iTunes!

About Adrian Lee Borden, our announcer

About Curtis Marolt, the composer of our music

How we create our podcast, step by step

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