How to find the best podcast hosting for churches

December 11, 2020

Do you want to offer more opportunities for your church community to engage with gospel-centered content? Are you looking for new ways to grow your audience beyond the walls of your church building? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, your church should consider starting its own podcast!

With the right tools, getting started with your church podcast can be incredibly simple. The best podcast hosting solutions allow your church to easily start a podcast either by using the content you already have or creating something entirely new.

WHAT IS A CHURCH PODCAST?

A podcast is a recurring media series, produced in an easily shareable format, that can be downloaded to or streamed from a computer or mobile device. Similar to radio shows, podcast formats range from interview-based programs to episodic storytelling to conversational banter and so much more! 

Churches have started to put their own spin on podcasting too, with unique formats like:

       


BENEFITS OF STARTING A CHURCH PODCAST

Before you get overwhelmed by the details of church podcast hosting, equipment, and strategies, consider what your church community stands to gain from starting one. Here are just a few of the many benefits:

Expanding your reach—Approximately 104 million Americans listen to at least one podcast episode a month, with 68 million of those tuning in weekly, and that’s not even including global audiences! Plus, podcasts aren’t just for young people: 23% of monthly listeners in the U.S. are over the age of 55. Church podcasts provide great opportunities to share meaningful, gospel-centered content to a significantly larger audience beyond your local community. 

  • Repurposing content—Every church is already a content creator. Don’t make podcasting harder than it needs to be; starting with your recorded sermons is a great way to take your content even further.
  • Diving deeper with your content—Your weekend services more than likely follow a specific pattern under a tight timeframe. For example, maybe your one-and-a-half-hour service includes an opening prayer, scripture readings, a sermon, worship, and ends with communion. One of the benefits of a church podcast is that you can dive even deeper into topics in a way that might be difficult to work into your usual format. 
  • Accessibility—Podcasts allow your community, as well as those engaging with your church for the first time, to connect with your messages any day of the week—not just Sunday. Your audience only needs an internet connection to listen to your church’s podcast on their computer or mobile device. Plus, audio-focused media is easier to consume on-the-go. Driving, doing chores, or walking—the options are endless!

       

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PODCAST HOSTING, DEFINED

Podcast hosting is a service that stores media files in the cloud and distributes churches’ podcast episodes via an RSS feed to popular channels like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and more. Essentially, when you upload a new podcast episode to your church’s podcast hosting provider, it delivers your content to any internet-connected device, making it available to listeners on the app or website of their choice.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A CHURCH PODCAST HOSTING PROVIDER

Not all podcasting providers are created equal! Here are four characteristics of the best church podcast hosting solutions:

Plentiful storage space

What good is a podcast hosting provider if you’re always running out of storage space? Having enough storage is key to producing a church podcast that isn’t constantly compromising on the quality or quantity of your content.

Think of the hours of meaningful content your podcast can produce! Considering most sermons are at least 30 minutes long, a podcast episode of a similar length would need approximately 25MB of storage space for that one episode. Following this example, if your sermon podcast is updated weekly, you would need a minimum of 1.3GB a year (or 1,275MB). 

One podcast hosting company, Libsyn, offers storage amounts that vary by plan, with the cheapest plan including only 50MB a month (or 0.6GB a year). In order to access additional storage with no monthly limit, churches using Libsyn for podcast hosting will more than likely find themselves needing to pay even more for an upgraded account!

Unlike Libsyn, Buzzsprout has storage that is based on hours of content uploaded per month. Its free plan only offers two hours a month—hardly enough for any church! Free podcast hosting is not ideal for churches because it often comes at a cost. In Buzzsprout’s case, the cost is a very limited amount of storage space, especially if you’re publishing new episodes weekly or have episodes that tend to be longer in length. If your church goes over the allotted two hours a month, you must pay for additional storage access in order to publish your content on your intended schedule.

However, churches using Subsplash Media for hosting their podcasts and other media have access to 5TB of storage space—with no monthly limits. Compared to Libsyn’s “Classic 50” plan, which caps out at 0.6GB a year, Subsplash offers over 8,000x more storage!

Top-notch support 

If anything goes wrong while uploading or managing your podcast, your church should never be left to troubleshoot on your own. The best podcast hosting solutions offer access to support teams that are dedicated to equipping your church for success. However, not all providers offer the same level of support.

Libsyn, for starters, includes a knowledge base for common how-to articles and email-based support. Buzzsprout similarly offers support access via email and by searching its help center database. While these support options are better than no support, they lack the personal guidance of real, human interaction. 

In addition to email support, ticket support, and knowledge center access, Podbean includes a live support chat option. However, only churches that pay for Podbean’s highest-tier plan have access to that timely support. 

Churches using Subsplash Media for podcast hosting automatically receive every type of customer support listed above, and so much more! In addition to dedicated support, you’ll have access to our teams of onboarding specialists and client success managers through email, phone calls, and live coaching—ensuring someone is always there to meet your church’s individual needs.

Video podcasting

Audio-only is great for on-the-go or casual listening, but many podcast consumers prefer to sit down and watch a video podcast. You too can enable your community to engage deeper with your content by finding a church podcast hosting solution that offers video podcasting! 

However, video podcasting is not standard among hosting solutions. Buzzsprout, for example, doesn’t offer this feature to any of its customers.

Those that do offer video podcasting typically require churches to pay for a higher-tier plan. For example, those that use Podbean for their church’s podcast must subscribe to the Unlimited Plus ($29/month) or Business ($99/month) plan to unlock video podcasting.

The best podcast hosting for churches, such as Subsplash Media, automatically includes video podcasting. Subsplash goes even further by allowing your podcast audience to seamlessly switch between video and audio during the middle of an episode.

Integration with a larger engagement platform

To maximize the impact of your podcast, you need to ensure your community can listen to it at any time, on any device. The best way to accomplish this is to choose a church podcast hosting solution that’s a part of a larger platform that seamlessly connects all of your engagement tools. 

Podcasting on the Subsplash Platform allows you to manage all of your content in one place. Once uploaded to the Subsplash Dashboard, your church’s podcast can be automatically published to popular channels—Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and more—as well as your mobile church app, TV app, and website. No reuploading necessary! 

By using a powerful podcast hosting service that’s built with churches in mind, you can effortlessly connect your church’s content to popular podcasting platforms, in addition to your website and custom mobile and TV apps.

Want to learn more about how your church can take podcast engagement to the next level with Subsplash? Check it out!

Already a Subsplash Client? Log in to your Subsplash Dashboard to start uploading your church’s media today, or schedule a call with your Client Success Manager!

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