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Acast is a creator-first business, and in all our conversations with advertisers and other partners we hammer home that the interests of our podcasters must come first. Our creators must be fairly reimbursed for the high quality content they so consistently produce, and the deep relationships they’ve cultivated with their listeners, because these are the things that fuel the whole industry.
Being properly and fairly rewarded for your craft is one of the things powering the Creator Economy and revolutionizing so many industries today. In podcasting, this fair treatment relies on a thriving, open ecosystem — one that gives creators the choice to publish and monetize their show however suits them best, and that gives listeners the freedom to listen wherever they like.
It’s an open ecosystem that has driven the healthy, sustainable growth of podcasting so far — and, trust me, it hasn’t finished growing by a long shot.
But, if the industry wants to make good on those revenue predictions we keep hearing about, we need everyone pulling in the same direction. Podcasting needs to be available and accessible for everyone, across all user types, operating systems, devices and listening platforms.
And one of the cornerstones of open podcasting is RSS. We’ve banged on about it in the past, and we won’t stop: because RSS is the technology that powers it all.
Here are five reasons why you need an RSS feed for your show:
It’s the only way to reach everyone
Just like the way HTML opened up the internet, making every website accessible through any web browser, RSS allows all the hundreds of different podcast players out there to pick up a feed and make it available for listeners to enjoy — wherever and however they like.
Without an RSS feed, there’s no way for any listener to hear your show anywhere other than within the closed system it’s hosted by — and you don’t want to miss out on those valuable listens, wherever people choose to enjoy your podcast.
It’s the only way to make money everywhere
I’ve mentioned already that Acast thinks podcasters should be fairly compensated for their craft — and that means giving you as many different ways as possible to make money from your show.
In the same way RSS lets people listen to your podcast wherever they may be, it also gives you the potential to make money from every single one of those listens — because any ads, sponsorships or promotions you run can be heard across all of them. If your show isn’t available outside a single, closed system, that’s going to make it a whole lot less attractive to advertisers, who ultimately want to reach as many people from your potential audience as they can.
Similarly, if you’re interested in offering bonus content or ad-free episodes to paying subscribers, you’re going to have far more success if you’re meeting them on their terms. We know how passionate podcast fans are about their favourite listening apps, so make it easy for them — if you want them to keep listening, don’t ask them to change their behaviour.
RSS and the open ecosystem promote innovation and forward thinking
In an open ecosystem, new formats and experiences, driven by explorations in both podcast content and the technology powering it, are constantly being developed — with plenty of room to keep innovating.
Wherever the market turns, an open ecosystem allows creators to plug into it. And keeping things closed thwarts innovation not just from a technical perspective, but in terms of content production, too — which brings me onto my next point.
RSS keeps the open ecosystem…open
Of course, all that wonderful autonomy offered by the open ecosystem has its trade-offs. The number of options available when getting started as a podcaster — and therefore the number of decisions you have to make — is definitely higher than the number you have when setting up a YouTube account, for example.
But those decisions give you a far higher degree of control and negotiating power — which can be crucial as your podcast grows.
RSS means you — and only you — own the relationship with yourlisteners
Your bond with your listeners is the most important relationship in all of podcasting — and it needs care and respect. You’ve no doubt nurtured it for years already, working hard to build your audience and keep them coming back every time you publish a new episode.
Your RSS feed allows you to own that relationship.
Acast will continue to champion our podcasters at every turn, safe in the knowledge that the open podcasting ecosystem — and the RSS technology behind it — is empowering them to reach their full potential.
The author is CEO of Acast.
This article first appears on the Acast website.