"RSS" is an acronym for "really simple syndication." Your show's RSS feed is what makes it a podcast and differentiates it from other kinds of episodic shows, like a TV or a radio show. Unlike TV or radio shows, all podcasts are syndicated to an RSS feed.
For example, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert or Jimmy Kimmel Live! are episodic shows comprised of audio and video, just like some podcast shows that use both audio and video. However, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel's shows are not podcasts because they are not syndicated to an RSS feed.
Your RSS feed is an XML file that contains all the information about your show as well as all your episodes, including URLs to the place where your episodes are hosted, descriptions, artwork, and much more. Podcast directories, like Apple Podcasts, require a connection to your RSS feed so they can pull your information and make your episodes available to your listeners.
How Do I Set up and Manage My RSS Feed?
Libsyn creates your RSS feed based on the information and media you provide when you set up your show. That information becomes part of your Apple Podcasts / Libsyn Classic Feed, which is the main RSS feed that you'll use to connect to places like Apple Podcasts. The information you enter when you set up your show is also used for all of the connections you set up in Libsyn, like connections to Spotify, Deezer, Facebook, and other destinations.
Even though your connections all draw initially from the information in your podcast settings, Libsyn offers plenty of flexibility if you want some information, like your show description, to show up differently in different directories. For example, if you want your Apple Podcasts / Libsyn Classic Feed to use a different description than the one you entered when setting up your show, you can customize it. This action is useful if you want your show's description to be different in Apple Podcasts (and the other places that use the Apple Podcasts / Libsyn Classic Feed) than in the rest of the podcast directories where you want to publish your episodes.
If necessary, you can also customize certain information for the publication destinations you set up in Libsyn, including places like Spotify, iHeartRadio, Deezer, and more. All you have to do is update the fields you want to change when you set those connections up, and Libsyn displays the new information only in those destinations. The fields where you specify different information for specific destinations are generally called RSS Feed Overrides.
If you ever enter information in a destination's RSS Feed Override fields, it is important to remember that you did so if you ever want to change your show title, authors, or show description in the future. Keep in mind that, if you ever change any of that information in your podcast settings, those changes will not show up in any destinations where there is information in the RSS Feed Override fields because these fields are designed to replace the information in your podcast settings.
Once you've set up your show settings and you've connected your show to directories, webpages, and social media, you're all set. All of your RSS feeds, including your Apple Podcasts / Libsyn Classic Feed and the connections to destinations in Libsyn, are automatically updated with new episode information whenever you publish a new episode. Places like Apple Podcasts pull information from the updated feed, and your new shows will appear in all of the places you've set your show up to appear in.
What Is the URL to My RSS Feed?
Finding and copying the URL for your main RSS feed is easy. To do so, sign in to Libsyn and — if you're not already there — click Dashboard at the top of your Libsyn account to open the Dashboard page. To find the URL, go to the Quick Links section and click the icon next to Feed.