Some podcasters create multiple RSS feeds for their shows. Mostly feeds that give you different media versions – HD video, SD video, HD audio, low quality audio, etc. Some podcasters only have one media form, so they look for new ways to catalog their podcasts in iTunes.
They turn to using Categories and Taxonomy to give people a new way to find the podcasts. But what are Category and Taxonomy podcasting? Is it worth it to put these ideas into your podcast?
Category and Taxonomy Podcasting
Category podcasting is where your podcast posts by the category you put it under. For example, in my Day in Tech History podcast, I have sub-categories like “Apple”, “Microsoft”, “Intel”, and more. I have set up a “Day in Tech History – Apple Events” RSS feed and iTunes link.
Taxonomy podcasting is where a “Tag” will put the show into a specific RSS feed. This practice is used for multiple podcasts on one site. Afterbuzz.com uses this process. They have multiple shows on the site. Therefore, if one of the tags is “Apple”, it could go into a special RSS, which would then be shared into iTunes.
Advantages of Category and Taxonomy Podcasting
One advantage to category podcasting is having only one container to put all media in. When I started using Powerpress, I set up Geek Smack! and the Special Media Feed on the same container. Geek Smack! uses the category “Podcast”, while Special Media Feed uses “Special Media Feed” category.
It also gives you the ability to let people skip what they might not care about. In my iPad365 show, I split into 2 categories – Business and Games. If you play games on your iPad, you might not want to know about an app on how to manage your companies books.
Disadvantages to Category and Taxonomy Podcasting
The biggest disadvantage is you have multiple RSS feeds to manage. If any of these RSS feeds breaks, you might lose views from subscribers. Of course, if these category podcasts don’t publish weekly, you could also lose subscribers.
Another downfall is people subscribing to a “Catch all” iTunes taxonomy (especially if you share with other shows) is your specific content might not be there all the time. The subscriber might get confused because they are watching something completely different and end up unsubscribing.
Does this Confuse iTunes?
Only if someone abuses it. I could technically make the main RSS feed, several subcategory RSS feeds and a bunch of tag RSS feeds. I would need to populate all these items on at least a weekly basis, but if you are just throwing items into the “Apple” tag for taxonomy podcasting (even if there is no conversation on Apple), people could get annoyed with your feeds and even report to iTunes.
In the last year and a half, iTunes listings have been watched with active eyes to clean up those feeds that no longer exist. They do not de-list anything unless it violates their TOS.
Other Advantages to Category and Taxonomy Podcasting
If you have your show listed on other aggregators, if your feed becomes part of a “Shared feed” for other websites, or you just want to offer multiple RSS feeds, this will be a good option. If you put out a lot of content and push only specific content (like I do with iPad365), then this might be a good option.
Finally, if you run tracking codes in your podcasts (like Blubrry media statistics), you would be able to run specific codes to see what your audience is like.
If I ran a sports podcast (for example) which switches between sports, I might have category feeds to separate baseball from football events. Some people might love baseball and hate football – or vise-versa. You might be giving them a choice if your show runs several times a week.
However, I can tell you that my numbers have not increased simply by having multiple feeds. They are really only there for convenience – on iPad365, if a gamer doesn’t want to be notified of a business app and vise-versa, they can choose the separate categories. So don’t expect your numbers to double…