Libsyn is one of the earliest podcast hosting platforms. It is well established with over 50,000 podcasters and enables you to publish your podcast on most of your audience’s favorite listening platforms and apps.
Below is a detailed overview of Libsyn, including how it works, its features, pricing models, pros and cons.
How Does Libsyn Work?
Just like a website requires a web hosting service, so does a podcast. A podcast hosting platform is the server where all your audio files are stored.
Libsyn is a single RSS feed for your podcast. Every time you upload a new episode for your show, it is added to the RSS feed and syndicated to the various podcast distributing platforms, like Spotify, Spreaker, Google Play, Soundcloud, etc. When your audio file is ready, you can schedule the show to go out at a designated time.
Some of the most outstanding Libsyn features are:
Detailed Informational Resources
Libsyn provides you with all the information you need to get started on the platform. The information is categorized and well-laid out for easy perusal and understanding.
Advanced IAB v2.0 stats
This tool is only accessible on advanced monthly plans. It offers a wide range of analytics features including:
- Geographical heat map to indicate locations where your audience is located
- User-agent stats that show the distribution platform that are delivering the most downloads
- Social media stats
- Destination stats
- Day, week, and monthly stats
- Date range selector
- Episode stats and breakdown
- Downloadable stats reporting
Variety of Episode Publishing Customization Features
- Immediate or further release
- Feed validation
- Turn on or off feed comments
- Episode title, subtitle, category, and description
- Save episode as draft
- Episode download availability settings
- Handpick publishing destination
- Episode expiration date
- ID3 tag settings
This feature lets you easily publish your episodes on most podcast directories and distribution channels. It is compatible with major podcast directories, including Spotify, Pandora, Amazon, Apple podcast, iHeartRadio, Tune in, Google Podcasts, etc.
The publishing tool can handle specific publishing needs such as
- Quickly removing and adding new content
- Detailed reporting on each Onpublish distribution channel
- Customizable delivery destination
- Control over your publishing destinations and schedule
Libsyn Podcast Advertising and Monetization
Libsyn offers some features to help you monetize your podcast. Podcasters using the Libsyn platform can request to be added to the Libsyn list of shows for possible consideration for advertising campaigns allocation.
Your podcast episodes must have at least 5,000 downloads in 30 days to qualify for the advertising program. You and Libsyn share the campaign profits 50/50, and you can work with a Libsyn team for help with determining ad slots, ad stitching, and targeting.
Libsyn is available as a paid service only. There is no free plan or a free trial period. It is available in 6 main payment plans depending on storage space and access to various features. These are:
- Classic 50 – costs $5 per month and provides 50MB monthly storage and access to all basic features except Libsyn statistics which costs an extra $2 per month.
- Classic 250 – costs $15 per month and provides up to 250MB monthly storage space. You get access to all the basic features.
- Advanced 400 – costs $20 and provides 400MB monthly storage spaces. Aside from giving your access to all the basic features, you get access to all the monetization features and some advanced features for free.
- Advanced 800 – costs $40 and offers 800MB monthly storage space. Has similar features as the Advanced 400.
- Advanced 1500 – costs $75 per month and 1500MB monthly storage space similar advance and basic features as those on other advanced plans.
- Advanced 3000 – costs $150 per month and 3000MB monthly storage space plus all basic and advanced features.
The basic features that come with all plans are:
- Specified monthly storage
- Unlimited audience
- Apple Podcasts compliant RSS
- Podcast page mini-website
- Libsyn directory listing
- Podcast source app listing
- Custom HTML5 media player
- WordPress publisher hub
- Show color swatches
- Secure RSS feed
- Audio, video, PDF, and text hosting
- Advanced episode scheduling
- FTP upload support
- File manager
- On publish destinations
- Libsyn basic statistics
There are two main monetization features, namely, double opt-in advertising and the Libsyn premium wall. The double opt-in advertising feature is available for all plans, while the MyLibsyn premium wall is only available on advanced plans.
There are 5 advanced tools:
- Downloadable stats reporting – available on advanced plans only
- Advanced IAB v2.0 stats – available on advanced plans only
- Additional 200MB storage space – available on advanced plans only at an additional $10 monthly fee.
- App for iOS & Android – available on advanced plans only at an additional $10 monthly fee.
- Use Your Own Domain – available on all plans at an additional cost of $2 per month.
- Affordable plans
- Straightforward and easy to use
- Automates distribution to most podcast directories
- Suitable for both beginners and advanced podcasters
- Minimal scope of analytics
- Lacks customer support
How to Get Started on Libsyn
Getting started on Libsyn is a straightforward process that takes 5 minutes or less. Here are the steps to follow:
1. Signup for a Libsyn Account
- Go to Libsyn.com.
- On the home page, click on the “Sign Up” option.
- Choose your preferred plan depending on how much storage space you need for podcast episodes.
- Fill in the billing and payment information to check out.
- You are ready to start publishing.
2. Set up Your Account
- Log in and go to your dashboard.
- On the menu bar, go to settings, then edit your show settings.
- Write your show title and show description.
- Add your website address if you have one.
- On the “Recommended Information segment”, choose your show type. If the listening order is not important for your show, choose “Episodic”. Otherwise, select “Serial”.
- If you want to, put a subtitle for your podcast. The subtitle shows up on the player and provides your audience with more information about your podcast.
- Choose a category for your podcast. You want to choose a category that is as close as possible to the topic or niche of your podcast. Libsyn allows you up to 3 choices of podcast categories. You must choose a category for all the 3 sections with option 1 being the most important and most relevant.
- Public contact email, phone number, owner email, owner name, author, copyright notice are optional.
- Indicate your content rating. If your show will have lots of explicit words choose “Explicit”, otherwise, check “Clean”.
- Provide keywords that are most relevant for your podcast to improve its discoverability.
- For the Default show feed, you have the option to choose between “Libsyn Classic Feed” and “Custom 3rd Party Feed”. If Libsyn is your main hosting platform, select the “Libsyn Classic Feed”. The “Custom 3rd Party Feed” is most suitable if you have a different hosting platform and you use Libsyn for promotion purposes. You will be required to provide a URL link to the primary feed.
3. Install Your Podcast Artwork
There are two types of podcast artwork you can install:
It serves as the thumbnail for your show on various podcast directories. Apple Podcasts have specific instructions on your maximum vs. minimum image size, color scheme, file size, and type. As such, Libsyn provides the following requirements for your show artwork:
- 1400x1400px minimum
- 3000x3000px maximum
- Image must be square
- File size -less than 500kb
- RGB color scheme
- File type – JPG, JPEG, or a PNG file
These show art requirements are applicable even on other podcast directories.
Where applicable, Libsyn combines your windscreen artwork with the podcast audio file to generate a video that you can upload on YouTube or Facebook. Usually, the video has a screen ratio of 16:9. Therefore, the recommended image size is 1920x1080px.
4. Choose a Theme Color
Libsyn automatically generates a show page for your podcast. The show page has a background color that you can leave at default or set your preferred color. The default color is auto-generated depending on the colors on your show art. You can change it to a color that suits your brand.
5. Set Up Your External Links
Libsyn allows you to link your show to your social media channels and to upload directly to the top podcast directories. Provide URL links to your social media pages and your top podcast directories. Then, click on save.
6. Add New Podcast Destinations
Libsyn adds your episode automatically to most podcast directories. However, you will need to manually upload and get approved on directory platforms, such as Stitcher, Pandora, and Apple Podcast.
- To add new destinations, select “destinations” on your menu bar. You will be provided with a list of additional podcast directories.
- Click “add” on the podcast directories you would like to add as your distribution channels.
7. Upload Your Episode
Here is how to add a new episode:
- On the menu bar, go to “Content” and select “Add New Episode” from the drop-down menu.
- Click on “Add Media File” on the “media” page.
- Upload your audio file
- Once your upload is complete, click on “Go to Details” at the bottom of the page to go to the next page.
8. Provide Episode Details
- On the “Details” page, set up the episode title, subtitle, and description. Provide a strong call to action and relevant links in the description section.
- Scroll down on the “Details” page.
- If you want to, create a category for your episode or choose from existing categories that will appear on the drop-down menu. If you are not keen to categorize your episodes, choose “General”.
- Add keywords and tags that are relevant to your podcast to improve its discoverability.
- If you have a website for your podcast, indicate that the permalink should point to the website.
- If you want to, provide specific settings for Apple Podcast Optimization.
9. Set the Artwork
Since you already provided a show artwork for your podcast when you were setting it up, you do not need to install new artwork.
10. Schedule Upcoming Episode
You may publish immediately or set a later date and time for publishing. Then click on the publish button.
11. Set up Your Stats
The classic version of Libsyn comes with basic stats analytical features and allows you to set your analytics for age, gender, and location, among other variables. If you want more stats details, you need to upgrade our membership.
Libsyn is an all-in-one podcasting solution for hosting and distributing your content. It is easy to get started on and use. It offers a wide range of features to help you host your podcast and distribute it. Choose from the various pricing packages the one that best suits your monthly storage needs and must-have features.