The Hostway Blog

Transform your RSS Feeds into Video Podcasts

If you are adding video content to your Web site, and offer an RSS feed, the next logical step is to include the video content in your RSS feed, transform your blog into a video podcast. This enables your subscribers to view your media content right from their feed readers, rather than having to click on a link and open a browser.

Unfortunately, when you add video or other rich media content to a Web page, it won't automatically show up in your RSS feed. If you want to make that happen, you have the option of creating RSS enclosure tags manually, or using a feed burning service to automate the process.

Creating <enclosure> Tags Manually

Assuming you are comfortable with xml files, adding video to the feed is a simple matter of adding an item with an <enclosure> tag. To work properly, the enclosure needs three elements: URL; length and type. An item might look something like this:

<item>
<title>Video Title</title>
<enclosure url=”http://www.mydomain.com/videos/myvideo.mp4” length=”100000” type=”video/mpeg”/>
<pubDate>Thur, 18 Feb 2010 15:35 GMT</pubDate>
</item>

You will, of course, need to edit the “Video Title,” “URL,” and “pubDate” to reflect the details of each video. You can find the length of the video in the file properties and alter that accordingly.

If you want to publish your video podcast to Apple's iTunes, you will need to ensure your videos are prepared in a compatible format. The quickest way to do this is using QuickTime Pro and iTunes library on your computer. Simply add your video to your library, right click on it and select “Convert Selection for iPod.”

Downsides to managing your RSS feed manually are that you will have to upload the resulting xml file to your server after adding each video, you will have to submit it to iTunes and Yahoo! directories yourself, and you will not be able to track subscriber numbers easily.

Using a Service to Automate Your RSS Video Feed

If you have a YouTube account, you can combine videos uploaded with your blog RSS by using a feed amalgamation service like www.rssmix.com. All you need to do is add your original RSS feed URL and your YouTube uploads feed, which will look something like http://gdata.youtube.com/feeds/api/users/USER/uploads, but with USER replaced with your own user name. Then replace the original RSS feed links on your pages with the resulting RSS feed URL, and your YouTube uploads will be included in your RSS feed.

If you are posting the videos on your own Web site, though, the simplest way of getting your videos into your RSS posts is to use FeedBurner to create a new RSS feed, and check the “I am a podcaster” box. Fill in the details for your feed on each page, and Feedburner will submit your feed to iTunes and Yahoo!, automatically include the content you choose, and keep track of subscribers for you.

So don't let your video content languish on your site, take it to where the viewers are and make it as easy as possible for them to access.