Occasionally, I will have a client who has set up their own podcast, before finding me, where they had submitted the direct rss feed from their blogger, podbean, Blog Talk Radio, or any other 3rd party account to iTunes. These people typically call me when they are ready to take their podcast to the next level, which usually means moving their site and rss feed to their own hosted WordPress installation.
The question that comes up most often is, “How do I change my rss feed to a new location without losing all my subscribers?” The second most common question is, “How do I get iTunes to change my directory listing to pull from my new rss feed?”
The good news is that iTunes does have some code that you can put into your rss feed that, if added, will tell iTunes to change their listing for your podcast to a whole new feed address. This will also work for those who are already subscribed to your podcast in iTunes, in such a way that the next time they check to see if there is an update on your old podcast feed, it will see the redirect code and automatically change their subscription to the new rss feed.
Many times, these clients are with a service that will HOLD THEIR RSS FEED HOSTAGE. This means that the 3rd party services does have the ability to add this little line of code to your podcast rss feed on their server. However, they simply refuse to do so.
Since you do not have access to manually change your rss feed on their server, your rss feed, and all your subscribers are held hostage. If this happens to you, I encourage you to listen to episode 200 of Podcast Answer Man to hear the advice that I give to these clients.
There are a handful of people who have either hand coded their own podcast rss feeds or used a program like Podcast Maker to create a podcast.xml file that they have full control over. You might think if someone has complete control over their own rss feed, there would be no added benefit of using a service like Feedburner.
However, in the following video, I share where I had a client who had his own podcast.xml feed on his own server, but needed to change the location of the feed to another location. Had he taken his own podcast feed and sent it through Feedburner, before submitting to iTunes, it would be as simple as changing one setting in Feedburner to change the location of rss feed without losing a single subscriber.
This video is a little more geeky than usual. It shows only the iTunes Redirect portion of what needs to be done in a circumstance like this. I am posting this here because I know that there are several other people out there who do have control over their own podcast.xml file and will need to do an iTunes re-direct to point existing subscribers and their existing iTunes directory to a new rss feed location.
Here’s the video:
I am happy to announce that we implemented the new podcast.xml file and it worked perfectly! His iTunes Listing now correctly shows the Feedburner Feed and anyone who hits that feed over the next few weeks will get automatically updated and then he will take that domain and point it over to his new site. Anyone who may still have the old rss feed after that can simply go in and resubscribe from there.
UPDATE 1/1/2012: I had someone write to me telling me that they were confused because they were using Mobile Me which had given them a podcast.html file and they assumed that this “html” file was where I was putting the code. It took them a while to realize that their rss feed was actually listed as “rss.xml”. Once they updated their rss.xml as shown in this video, everything worked fine.
So the important thing to understand is that your RSS feed may be something other than podcast.xml. I suppose it’s possible that your rss feed could be something other than a .xml extension. Please just take note that adding the iTunes tag for redirect is going to go in your podcast’s rss feed file, whatever it may be called.