Learn About Podcast Metadata and ID3 Tags

Create and edit ID3 tags to help your podcast stand out

Woman speaking into a microphone

 Jasper Cole / Getty Images

You may have heard about a website's metadata, which includes a description of the site along with keywords, metatags, and more. These elements all play a role in search results. Podcasts also have metadata, and it's important to include and optimize this information, so your podcast gets on the radar of all your potential listeners. Here's a look at how to optimize your podcast's metadata along with some tools that can help.

Metadata simply means data about something. Think about your podcast metadata as information you can tell the world about your podcast.

What Are ID3 Tags?

When working with podcast metadata, you'll hear a lot about ID3 tags. When it comes to podcasts, ID3 tags and metadata are basically the same things.

ID3 tags are metadata containers used with MP3 audio formats. An ID3 tag attaches metadata to your file in the ID3 format.

Since podcasts are in MP3 format, their ID3 tags store information such as the title, artist or author, website URL, and if the language used is explicit. ID3 tags also include data about your podcast and episode cover art.

When you submit your podcast to the various distribution channels, such as iTunes or Spotify, the data in the ID3 tags is read and displayed to your potential audience.

Metadata for your podcast isn't something you set and forget. As your show evolves, its category might change, the language may get a little more explicit, and you may add new cover art. Keeping your metadata fresh helps you find the right audience.

What Metadata Do You Need?

When you submit your podcast to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, or other platforms, you'll need to include some crucial metadata.

Title

Your podcast has a title, but each episode has a title, as well. Make sure your title is catchy and descriptive, but not too long. Uniqueness is important, as you don't want to duplicate another podcast's title.

Author

This might also be referred to as "artist" or "host." This could be your name, the name of your company, or a brand.

Description

When you include a description for a podcast episode, keep it simple and descriptive. Don't overload with keywords, and you don't have to include the title of your show or the host's name.

Categories

Most platforms let you choose up to three categories, for example, News, Self-Help, or True Crime. If your podcast evolves and changes its focus, simply change the categories you're in.

Explicit

There's usually a spot where you can indicate if your podcast episode uses explicit language. There are no restrictions on explicit language in a podcast, but you do have to warn people. Even if you let only one minor curse word out during an episode, play it safe and mark it as explicit.

Artwork or Pictures

Add in any show artwork or artwork for an individual episode.

Episode Number

While some podcast hosts automatically number your episodes, you have to add them manually in others. Without a number, your podcast episode can get lost.

How to Add ID3 Tags to MP3 Files

Many podcast hosting services, such as Libsyn, make it easy to add ID3 tags to your podcast. Upload your MP3 file, and fill out the requested information, such as your episode title, number, description, and more, and then check the Update ID3 Tags box. All the details you've added about your episode automatically became part of the ID3 tag for the media file.

Screenshot of Libsyn adding podcast metadata

But if you're producing a podcast and want to add the ID3 tags before you upload your MP3 file to a podcast host, there are some excellent ID3 tag editors available, both free and paid.

MP3tag

MP3tag is a free download for Windows that adds and edits your ID3 tags for MP3 files. Using MP3tag to upload your metadata is easy and intuitive. It supports batch editing for multiple files covering several audio formats. It also uses online databases to look up information, so you can use it to tag your existing music collection to find artwork or the correct titles.

EasyTAG

EasyTAG is another free ID3 editor. It's a simple application for editing and viewing ID3 tags in audio files. EasyTAG supports multiple formats and can be used with Windows and Linux operating systems. It can be used to auto-tag and organize your MP3 collection and edit your MP3 metadata in an easy-to-use format.

ID3 Editor

ID3 Editor works on Windows or Mac systems and requires a paid license, but it does offer a 30-day free trial. This editor has a slick interface that makes editing podcast ID3 tags easy and simple. It also cleans up old tags and will add copyright, URL, and "encoded by" information.

Prestopod

Prestopod is a browser app that lets you add and store ID3 tags for faster publishing. It's simple and easy to add ID3 tags to your MP3 files or update existing tags. A free plan allows you to publish two episodes a month, while the standard plan is only $15 per month and allows for up to 20 episodes monthly.

Add ID3 Tags With iTunes

iTunes offers one of the simplest and easiest ways to add ID3 tags to your podcast episodes.

  1. Open iTunes.

  2. From the File menu, select Add to Library.

  3. Find the file you want to add to your library and select Open.

  4. Right-click on the file and select Get Info.

  5. Select Options and change media kind to Podcast.

  6. Select Details and add the requested information, such as title, author, podcast name, etc.

  7. Select Artwork and upload your cover art.

  8. Select Description and add your episode description.

  9. Select the Sorting tab and add the file title, podcast name, and author.

  10. Your file is now ready to be uploaded to your podcast hosting service, such as Libsyn.