Church podcasting has become the norm, not the exception, within the church world. That said, there are many churches who have not yet taken the plunge and figured out how to install sermons on their websites or create additional content for a podcast to connect with members.

We sat down with new site sponsor, Buzzsprout, to find out how their idea for free and low-cost church podcasting solutions came about. We’re excited about what they are offering to churches and nonprofits who are ready to get started with church podcasting, sans headache. Here we go:

1. How did the idea to begin Buzzsprout church podcasting come about and how it fills a need in the church community?

The idea for Buzzsprout came a little over three years ago while we were working with our msites users. msites is a really easy way for nonprofits and churches to build and maintain a website.

Buzzsprout Site

With msites, we hit a point where we wanted to provide our users with a way to put their audio files online. As we started discussing the possibilities, we found that to make it do everything we wanted, it should really be its own entity.

Since then, we’ve continued to develop Buzzsprout in order to make it really easy for churches and podcasters to publish their sermons and audio files online. Whether that’s on a Buzzsprout site, iTunes, on their website, or anywhere else they want to publish their audio, Buzzsprout makes the process simple for churches.

2. In a nutshell, how does Buzzsprout work?

We really like to keep things simple, so we broke audio podcasting into three distinct components:

  1. Uploading episodes/sermons
  2. Promoting your podcast
  3. Tracking your play counts

We knew that the uploading process had to be easy. For churches especially, the media team needs to be able to upload the audio file, give it a title, an optional description and let it go. Buzzsprout is able to take almost any type of audio file, and automatically optimize it for the web.

Promoting your podcast well is very important as it helps people find you, but it can be a daunting task. In order to have a podcast in iTunes or anywhere else, the show needs an RSS feed. Creating a feed by hand is tedious, so Buzzsprout automatically creates a unique feed for every account and keeps it updated. We then provide specific and extremely easy-to-follow instructions for submitting your podcast to the iTunes podcast directory.

Statistics

Churches are also provided with three different methods of embedding your episodes/sermons into your own website and we have a WordPress Plugin for bloggers. For those just starting out, or for churches without their own website, Buzzsprout provides a mini podcast site where people can find and listen to your podcast with no setup required.

Of course the whole reason behind setting up a podcast is so other people can listen to your content. So Buzzsprout includes play count statistics for each episode and also breaks out some interesting information like your most popular shows, total play counts over time, and even shows you your listener trend.

3. Does it work with existing websites in addition to WordPress (love that you have a plugin)?

The embed options will work on almost any website. The only exception would be certain website builder applications that do not allow javascript embeds. Basically if you can embed a YouTube video on your site then you can embed your sermons with Buzzsprout.

4. Describe the free vs. paid plans and what type of church or ministry might make use of each?

Every user starts on our free plan with the option to upgrade at anytime. Both the free and paid plans have the same features, but the free plan limits you to two hours of new material per month and your sermons will only be hosted for 90 days. You can keep adding more, but the ones at the bottom do drop off after this 90 day period. For a church just starting out, this plan is a great way to get sermons online for absolutely no money.

Under a paid plan, users have the ability to upload more hours of audio per month (which varies by plan). The files are then hosted indefinitely and you also gain the ability to exceed your allowance for a nominal fee should the need arise. We call this “overage” and it’s a great way to post a special event or upload a sermon that ran a little long without have to upgrade to a higher plan.

5. Overall, what is your goal for Buzzsprout? How do you see your service helping churches worldwide and what is your vision?

With Buzzsprout, we want to continue to make it easy for churches and podcasters to publish their audio online. Our customers should never have to worry about things like bandwidth, storage, audio size, HTML5 vs Flash…those are all headaches that we want to alleviate. Podcasting should be simple. You login and upload your audio file. That’s it. Everything else is taken care of and it works every time.

Since we began hosting podcasts, we’ve seen a lot of churches adopt the idea of getting their sermons online. There is so much untapped potential for these sermons. It’s our goal to explore ways for churches to turn these archived sermons into content resources for their congregation and the world. We’ve recently constructed an education platform on buzzsprout.com and are excited to continue building that out.

We believe words are powerful, and our mission is to help people share the most powerful words spoken each week.