How to Maximize Exposure For Your Podcast & Climb the Apple Podcast Charts
Congratulations! Your podcast is in production, and it's time to start thinking about your approach to launching the show.
When it comes to distributing your new podcast, there are countless routes to success. Some strategies, however, are more reliable than others. Creative details aside, some techniques are objectively more likely to improve your worldwide visibility as well as your potential rankings on the most broadly viewed podcast charts available--Apple Podcasts.
Below are 5 of the most fundamentally important things that you can do to ensure a successful launch.
Tip #1 - Choose Your Distributor
More and more aggregators are popping up by the day, so choosing one can feel overwhelming. While offerings vary, some things to consider are: cost, tools & statistics.
Options like Libsyn offer a variety of paid tiers that are largely based on the amount of upload space provided and level of details in analytics.
Others like Acast can be more appealing as they are entirely free, boast unlimited upload space and do in fact offer useful tools for analyzing audience and growth. These are a terrific option for new shows that are running lean and looking to minimize expenses, particularly before the show is monetized.
The good news is that, like your car insurance provider, most platforms are more than happy to help you move from one distributor to their platform, so you are not locked in for life. *While your feed will not be disrupted, your analytics will not transfer from one platform to another, so do your best to choose one that you're content to stick with for a long time.
Lastly, keep in mind that should you decide to change aggregators, stats on individual platforms will remain intact. Even once a feed is redirected, Apple Podcasts Connect, Spotify for Podcasters and the like will retain the show's lifetime data.
Tip #2 - Publish Your Trailer Ahead of Episode 1
Ideally, your trailer will range from 30-120 seconds in length. Consider incorporating a music bed, brief show summary and the release frequency as a part of your script. Great. But why not release all at once along with your first episode?
By publishing in advance, you set yourself up with a few huge advantages
Complete the distribution setup. Your show will not be visible anywhere without a piece of audio published. For a first release, and for those that require some extra work (Tip #3), there can added delays in populating on these platforms. This way, you can come out swinging on launch day, and take the guesswork out of when you'll really be available on Apple.
Get followers early. By making sure that your show is live ahead of Episode 1, you allow friends, family and followers to..follow early. The advantage is that when listeners follow a show, new episodes are downloaded to their phones automatically. This ensures a spike in downloads instantly upon release, helping to propel you up the Apple Podcast charts, in turn, becoming more and more visible to more potential new listeners.
*Be mindful that you are in fact publishing as a "Trailer" rather than a "Full Episode" as this effects how and where the trailer is displayed, and keeps you from inadvertently skewing the data.*
Tip #3 - Are You Really Available Everywhere?
This is key. One major difference between podcast distributors is to which platforms they make your show available. Typically, any option available will have the wherewithal to ship you off to major players like Apple and Spotify, but many still require a bit of legwork.
Below are screenshots from Acast's backend, where we see can see clearly that some apps are automatically put in place, and which others may require the creating of an account, simple "Agree to Terms" submissions, or "Claiming" of a feed to view stats and control additional functions.
Tip #4 - Publish Multiple Episodes at Once
These episodes are so much work..why should I post multiple episodes at once?
Multiply downloads! Day one is a big deal, and the more opportunity you have to rack up some numbers early, the better you will position on the charts (explained further in Tip #5).
Showcase range. Maybe you're new to interviews. Maybe your first guest isn't for everyone. Give people a few options so that they can get a taste of what you really have to offer. A good rule of thumb would be:
Episode 1: Solo Episode (who are you and what do you hope to accomplish)
Episode 2: Guest Episode (draw some new traffic and dip your toes in the water of interviewing)
Get them hooked. Your job as a podcast host is to try to become a part of people's routines. Many people are happy to stop by for an episode, by way of a guest for example, but that's a lot of weight for one episode to carry. The more opportunity a listener has to get familiar with you, the better your chances that they will convert to Followers.
*2-3 Episodes on launch day will get you off to a great start*
Tip #5 - Prioritize Ratings & Reviews
This one is as frustrating as it is significant. The algorithm used for the Apple Podcast charts are an enigma. They do a great job of keeping things under wraps, but what is known without question is that their rankings are calculated using a combination of:
This calculation seems to be a sum from an unknown range, likely 1 week, which is why you'll notice shows with more frequent releases adding up to higher chart positions.
The good news for you, is that between you, family, friends, followers and everyone else in the world, you've got a lot of potential to rack up new ratings and reviews early. By making a very direct point of requesting these, along with your multiple episode and early trailer strategy, the math is on your side.
Also important to note, listeners cannot view your downloads. In fact, there are virtually no public metrics that potential listeners can see outside of your rating and review counts. So like it or not, you are now playing a game of listener psychology. The more highly endorsed your show is, the more likely new listeners are to deem it worthy of their time.
*Consider making "please rate and review" a part of your show's templated intro & outro as a reminder to listeners to help you get out to more people.
Follow Your Progress
To keep track of your Apple Podcasts rankings, create a free account with Chartable. While rankings displayed may be lagging as compared to the Apple Podcasts app, it's a quick and easy way to view your current and historical rankings by Country, Category & Sub-Categories.
Through their "Team Settings" menu option you can quickly and easily search your show by name or RSS, sign up for email recaps and more. In fact, you can follow as many shows as you'd like (even ones that are not yours).
See you on the charts!