Podcast Publishing: A Filename for Your Podcast

Now that you have your podcast “in the can”, you need to publish it to the internet for the whole world to hear. Are you getting excited?

First we’re going to talk about preparing your MP3 file and then uploading it to the internet.

How to Name Your MP3 File So It Makes Sense for Your Listeners

Before you upload your podcast you should decide on a naming convention for your podcast files. We already talked about using the ID3 tags in the MP3 file. If you haven’t yet filled these out, or if you need a review, you can read about ID3 tags here. Once you establish a convention for your ID3 tags and your file names, stick to it and be consistent.

Why is this important? You’ll make it much easier to find, organize and listen to your podcast by carefully naming your files. First, a good file name will make it easy to put your podcast files in sequential order on your listener’s computer. Also, they will be able to tell at a glance what show and episode the file is from.

Believe me. Your listeners will appreciate it if you make an effort to do this right. A happy listener is one that will stick around to hear more. If you don’t pay attention to these details, your listeners will probably demand it of you eventually. You may as well take care of it now.

I suggest one of two conventions for naming your podcast file.

podcast initials-episode #.mp3


podcast initials-date.mp3

Either of these conventions will make it easy for you and your listener to sort your podcast in chronological order.

Let me give you some examples. For GothamCast, I name my MP3s like this:


For another of my podcasts, The Podcasting Underground, I name like this.


You’ll notice that with GothamCast I don’t use initials. The name is short enough I just use the full name. Then I tack on the episode number. With The Podcasting Underground, I use the initials TPU to make it shorter.

Why do I stick zeros in front of single-digit episode numbers? Some operating systems won’t list files in the right order if you name them like this:



Podcast11 would actually be listed before Podcast1. I won’t go into why. That’s just the way some operating systems, such as Windows, work. If you stick a couple zeros in front of single digits, then your files will be listed in order.

Another format is to include the date like this:


By putting the 2005 before the month and day, all the 2005 podcasts will be listed together and in order. Again, it’s all about making it easy for your listeners to find, recognize and organize your podcast files.

You’ll notice I used hyphens in the last example. If you want to space things out, I suggest using a hyphen (-) or underscore (_). I’d avoid any other characters, including spaces.

Avoid file names that are too long. That last example with the date is about as long as I would make the filename. For awhile I experimented with using a few description keywords about the episode when I name a file. This made for a very long filename. I figured if Windows can handle it, why not?

Well, I then discovered that the player in the Yahoo Podcast Directory wouldn’t play those files. That was a problem considering they’d just put my podcast on the front page as New and Noteable and traffic was coming in. I had to hurry and release a new episode with a shorter filename so that when someone hit the listen button, it would work.

I don’t know why this was a problem, but the moral of the story is it is safest to keep your filenames from being too long.

That brings me to one more thing. I didn’t go back and change the long filenames of the podcasts that I had already uploaded and released. The reason for this is that many podcatchers look at the filename as an indicator of a whether there is something new to download.

If I changed the filename online and in the feed, some podcatchers might download it again thinking it was a new episode. My listeners would get a repeat download. This may not seem like a big deal, but some listeners get upset when that happens and might even unsubscribe.


Before you upload your podcast you should choose a format for naming your MP3 files then stick to it and be consistent. This will make it easier for your listeners to find, organize and listen to your podcast.

I suggest on of the following formats for your podcast filenames:

podcast initials-episode #.mp3 OR podcast initials-date.mp3

Now we’ll take a look at uploading your MP3 file.

Uploading Your Podcast >>

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