Setting up My Podcasts in My ChurchSuite
The My Podcast section is a great feature that enables you to deliver the audio and video message content - perhaps from your weekend services - directly to your members through My ChurchSuite. Note that ChurchSuite does not host your podcast feed - the integration simply links to your existing hosted feed.
In this article
Setting up the podcast integration
To get started navigate to the Integrations section of the Administrator area and click on the Podcast integration.
The integration gives you the option to subscribe to either a standard iTunes format XML 'Podcast Feed' or alternatively to a Soundcloud account. It's important that your podcast episodes do not have any spaces in the filenames - use the underscore character if you need to.
Linking to an iTunes XML podcast feed
If your podcast is available as an XML/iTunes format feed (typically from your website or the platform you use to stream your podcast), simply select Podcast Feed as the Type and paste in the Feed URL where your XML feed can be found.
Once you have entered the Feed URL click the Finish button and ChurchSuite will attempt to access your feed and download a list of the most recent podcast episodes. If there are any errors with the feed they will be displayed for you to see.
Linking to a Soundcloud account
Soundcloud is a great alternative to hosting a podcast feed yourself and has become popular with churches due to its ease of use and low hosting prices. If you have a Soundcloud account simply select the Soundcloud option from the Type select.
If you are unsure of your Soundcloud ID you'll be able to find it from your Soundcloud URL. For example, if your Soundcloud URL is http://soundcloud.com/kings-hope-church your Soundcloud ID would be kings-hope-church; if your URL was http://soundcloud.com/my-church-name your Soundcloud ID would be my-church-name.
Once you have entered your Soundcloud ID simply click the Finish button to complete the integration.
Updating your podcast
ChurchSuite will automatically check for new episodes in your Podcast/Soundcloud account every 24 hours so there's no need to come back and update the integration. If you do want to 'force' ChurchSuite to re-sync before it would do so automatically - perhaps if you want to make a new podcast episode immediately available - you can use the Sync Now button from the integration page.
Working with series
A fantastic feature of the Podcast integration is the ability to group podcast episodes together into each series. Episodes don't need to be added sequentially in order for this to work, but they do need to follow a consistent naming convention. To group by series the series name must be contained within square brackets and be a part of the episode title. For example consider the following podcast episode titles:
- [A Generous Church] Serving the poor
- [A Generous Church] Welcoming newcomers
- [A Generous Church] Blessing others
In the examples above the series name for each episode would be 'A Generous Church', immediately followed by the episode name. If this naming convention is followed then talks in the same series will be grouped together within My ChurchSuite making it easy for members to stay up to date with a series.
Working with video
If you record video for your Sunday talks and upload to either YouTube or Vimeo, ChurchSuite can display your video alongside the audio player. To enable this simply include a link to the YouTube or Vimeo video within the episode description and ChurchSuite will 'pull' the video through automatically.
For example, if you include within the episode description "You can also watch at: http://vimeo.com/1234", ChurchSuite will embed your Vimeo video with ID_1234 directly into the My Podcast page. The process for including a YouTube video works in the same way - simply include a YouTube URL in the episode description.