You should see the look on our clients faces when we show them that their podcast has hit the top 10 of their category in Apple Podcast during the launch period.
Here is an example of one:
The only issue?
Apple doesn't publish guidelines on how you can rise in the rankings.
But don't worry, you don't need Apple when you have Fame ;)
This post details everything we have learnt about ranking shows in Apple Podcasts so you can go away and do the same with yours.
Let's get into it...
How Does Apple Rank Podcasts?
Let's start off by telling the truth: nobody knows exactly how the internal Apple Podcasts ranking algorithms work.
All we have is an understanding of what the inputs must be... and the wisdom from people that have been playing the Apple Podcasts rankings game over the past through years.
Here is what we know... the more you get these things the higher you will rank:
Their allgorithm must place a certain weighting on each of these to calculate rankings...
Now here's the big one: from all of our experimentation AND from what we have learnt from other Apple Podcasts ranking legends...
👉 New followers in a certain time period (assumed 48 hours) is the highest rated input into the algorithm
Just get your people to follow ;)
(It used to be called "subscribe" but Apple recently changed this to "follow".)
Let's now dig into how you actually do this...
8 Simple Steps To Boost Apple Podcasts Rankings
Most Important: Produce Great Content
What do we mean by "great content"?
Well "great" is in the eye of the beholder... so you need to first understand WHO you are making content for.
Only then can you make it great.
Now hopefully, you have a good idea of the types of people you can create "great content" for as we assume you have been marketing to them for a while.
If you don't, then your first step is to just spend time talking with these people... to LEARN.
To learn about how you can make great content for them.
What gets them excited?
What are the burning questions that keep them up at night?
What are they most afraid of?
We must know the answers to these questions if we are going to create great content.
Nail The Right Primary Category
You can list your show in several secondary categories on Apple, but you can only choose one primary category.
If you can't decide between two podcast categories that both look like they'd be a strong fit, go with the smaller and less-crowded niche category.
It is ALWAYS easier to grow into a small category, build a loyal audience there before aiming to rank in the big, broader catgegory for your niche.
Incentivise Listeners To Rate & Review
One of the most effective ways to rank in Apple Podcasts list is to have good quality reviews. Listeners can rate your podcast as well. Podcasters must frequently guide their listeners to the review section and urge them to post a review.
It may seem obvious, but people need to hear something several times before they take in and, more importantly, before they act. Obviously, presenting a reward to listeners to review your podcast is the greatest method to motivate them to do so.
Entice them with a freebie, such as an eBook, short course, or another assortment of goodies. Offer something valuable in exchange for unique reviews, and utilize that to persuade your listeners to do so
Instead of providing freebies to every reviewer, a giveaway can be an excellent strategy. You could enroll reviewers into a contest for a larger prize. Just make sure you follow all of the rules for giveaways that are chosen at random
The #1 Key
The most important factor deciding the ranks in Apple Podcasts is the number of subscribers. Therefore, leave no stone unturned to bring in a maximum number of subscriptions. It does not matter if you do not have thousands of social media followers. Also, try to work for driving as many subscriptions as possible within 48 hours of publishing your podcast.
Your close group of family and friends who are genuinely interested in your podcast can help you out easily. The enthusiasm of your podcast debut announcement may make them willing to share the news on their social media profiles. This will garner the attention of people beyond your friend circle. Never doubt the capacity of word-of-mouth promotion, especially as your podcast grows in popularity. As you progress, you'll see that your statistics steadily improve.
Attention To Detail: Podcast Cover Thumbnail, Trailer, Episode Titles
The first few things people look for while searching for new podcasts is its title, cover art, and of course, the trailer.
Follow all the Apple Podcasts guidelines while designing and creating the cover thumbnail image. Also, optimize the image for mobile devices. The finest podcasts have an eye-catching, one-of-a-kind cover thumbnail. Furthermore, the cover art should also organically reflect and aesthetically convey your show's theme.
Moreover, build the excitement with a gripping podcast trailer. A trailer is the ideal strategy to get listeners excited about your podcast's debut. Further, it will have the audience race to get it once it's out. Although an appealing podcast cover and a title are required to attract listeners, a fascinating trailer makes it easier to attract devoted listeners.
Making a one-or two-minute trailer to showcase your show is beneficial for several reasons. Your trailer should, at the very least, state who your audience can be, the genre, and the release date.
There is nothing called perfect podcast content. Indeed, it should be something that can connect with the audience instantly. Moreover, it should have a character, tone, style, pace, and most importantly, originality.
Use Apple's Link Maker
Social media is a great place to build and grow your network. Apparently, perseverance, consistency, and most importantly, no expectations is what this requires. Staying active in all what's happening on your page as well as on your followers' page is a great strategy.
Leaving comments on your followers' posts, sharing your stories with them will build up a great engagement. Automatically, they will be naturally curious to see what you are up to. Use Apple’s Link Maker application for generating links to promote your podcast on social media accounts.
Continual tracking and monitoring of results, as like any other digital marketing initiative, is also important for podcast rankings. This way, you can understand how your podcast is working. Subsequently, you will also come to know about the factors that need improvement.
Podcasts Connect is Apple's tool for managing and submitting podcast episodes to Apple Podcasts. It has a built-in analytics feature. Indeed, this provides information such as:
● Number of distinct devices that have listened to your podcast,
● Average time spent listening per device
● Total amount of listening time.
The data and statistics can be accessed for months, specific days or custom dates. There are some third-party podcast analytic tools that can help you with additional in-depth analysis. Such as, Chartable.com and Podstatus.com.
An finally... the most important attribute any B2B marketer must cultivate: is to be consistent with your work.
Turn up... everyday and produce content for your listeners.
There is no short cut to a awesome podcast that ranks.
As we have said, Apple won't tell us how they rank shows... and the probably never will.
So we are left with common sense and the learnings from podcast ninjas over the past couple of years.
Remember: new followers in a 48 hour time window will boost your rankings more than anything else.
You can thank me later ;)
P.S. As a thank you for reading this post all the way to the end, if you are trying to rank a show, ping us the Apple Podcasts URL to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get our time to follow it to help you rank 🤓
Case Study: 0-140k Downloads in 6 Months 👇👇👇
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