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How to Rank in the Apple Podcast Charts in 2020: Top 10 in 6 Days!

Scott 04/09/2020 204


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On the 10th March, just 6 days after launching my new podcast, this happened:

Entrepreneurs Can Party ranked in the Top 10 of the U.K. Apple Podcast charts for Entrepreneurship!

Wait; what!

How did that happen?!

It’s something I’ve been asked many times over the past month, so in an attempt to shed some light, here are the steps I took pre-launch and post-launch to rank in the Apple Podcast charts.

Spoiler alert: It’s easier than you might think!!

how to rank in Apple Podcasts
Entrepreneurs Can Party in the U.K. Top 10!

Pre-Launch

Recording Content & Equipment
Editing with Audacity
Structuring your Podcast with Intros & Outros
Podcast Cover Artwork
Social Media Banners & Web Design
Pick a Launch Date
Podcasting Systems
Buzzsprout for Podcast Hosting
Professional Email
Calendly.com
Alex Chisnall’s Podcast Launch Programme
Building Your Network Using Social Media
Building Your Network Through Events & Guest Appearances
Competitions / Giveaways
Main Trailer
Schedule Your Main Trailer, An Intro Episode & A Full Length Episode

How to Rank in the Apple Podcast Charts – First Steps

Previous Podcasting Experience Helps

Prior to launching Entrepreneurs Can Party, I had been working on another podcast.

This was more of a hobby which I didn’t take too seriously.

I wanted an excuse to have meaningful conversations with friends who are doing interesting things in their careers, and a podcast provided exactly that!

My friends enjoyed the conversations, and just as importantly, so did I.

It made me realise podcasting was something I wanted to pursue more purposefully, and the experience of having chats with friends allowed me to improve my interviewing skills.

Interviewing guests isn’t critical to rank in the Apple Podcast charts.

Many types of podcasting formats work.

With guests, without guests, with friends – the list goes on.

However, practicing my craft did give me confidence in what I was doing which is important when it comes to promoting your new podcast.

If you don’t believe in it, how can you expect anyone else to?!

Also, working on this podcast taught me how to edit audio using Audacity; how to host a podcast on Buzzsprout; and how to create engaging content on social media using Wavve audiograms.

These are all crucial podcasting skills!

Audacity is free editing software available for Windows & Mac.
Listen to Podcasts

This is an easy one for me because I love podcasts!

For the past 6 years, I’ve avidly listened to many, MANY podcasts, ranging from comedy, business, entrepreneurship, football and everything in between.

My favourite ones at the time of writing this are Screw It, Just Do it by Alex Chisnall; The Diary of a CEO by Steven Bartlett; The Investors Podcast by Preston Pysh & Stig Brodersen; Growth University Mindset by Jordan Paris; and The Tim Ferriss Show; to name just a few.

The reason this is so important for launching a new podcast and getting it to rank in the Apple Podcast charts is because it allows you to learn from the best.

You can see what works. What makes your favourite podcasts so good? Is it the way they’re put together? The quality of the sound? The format of the show? The quality of the questions the host asks?

It’s also helpful to listen to podcasts which you don’t consider to be of as high quality. Why wouldn’t you listen to it again? How would you improve this show if it was yours?

Just as great writers recommend reading lots of books, listening to lots of podcasts won’t do you any harm!

Listening to other podcasts can help you improve as a podcaster.
Choose a Theme / Niche & Podcast Name

There are a lot of podcasts out there.

Current estimates at the time of writing indicate there are over 800,000.

Although this is still WAYYYY smaller than the number of YouTube channels, it still represents a significant number.

Moreover, podcasts aren’t just competing for attention with other podcasts.

They’re competing – either directly or indirectly – against radio, video, social media and a myriad of other sources.

As such, you should give podcast listeners a reason to tune into your show.

What is it about? Who is it for? Why are you making it?

Why should listeners tune in?

Unless you’ve already got a big following who will support what you put out no matter what, you’ve got to offer some sort of value proposition to potential listeners.

Let’s face it; we’re all selfish!

So unless you’re providing value, whether it’s through entertaining, educating, or (preferably) a combination of the two, no one will care.

Although this isn’t such a big deal for the launch phase, it’s important if you’re looking to grow your podcast listenership.

Regarding who you think will listen to your podcast, I personally think it’s best to create a podcast YOU would want to listen to.

That way, you can make better-informed decisions about your podcast and which direction you want to take it, rather than trying to guess based on some listener avatar.

It’s a big world out there and there are bound to be 1,000s of people who have similar tastes as you!

There are an increasing number of podcasts out there so it’s important to ‘niche down’.
Choose Your Podcasting Categories

Once you’ve chosen your theme and podcast name, you’ll hopefully have an idea of what category it’ll fall under.

At present, there are over 100 categories and sub-categories to choose from to rank in the Apple Podcast charts.

You can choose up to three, and the first you choose has a greater weighting than the second which has a greater weighting than the third.

It’s helpful to go narrow on your first category.

For example, I chose “Entrepreneurship” as my first category and “Management” as my second.

Both of these are sub-categories of “Business” which is currently my third category.

It’s this first one – Entrepreneurship – which I managed to rank in the top 10 of the Apple Podcast charts for.

If you’re not too sure which categories you want to try to rank for, that’s okay as you can change these at any point on your hosting platform.

rank in the apple podcast charts
Picking a less competitive sub-category gives you a greater chance of ranking in the Apple Podcast charts.

Pre-Launch (Getting the Dominoes Lined Up)

This is where the fun begins!

In an attempt to keep this blog as concise as possible, I’m going to squeeze 6 months of work to rank in the Apple Podcast charts into a (relatively) tight space.

Here goes!

Recording Content & Equipment

Once you’ve decided on the format of your show and who you would like to interview (if you’d like to bring guests on), start recording.

The quality of your recordings can have a big impact on how long listeners stick around for.

Think about your least favourite podcasts you’ve listened to. Was sound quality something that put you off?

It doesn’t have to be perfect, nor does having a great setup have to cost the Earth. Tim Ferriss’s podcasting equipment costs him surprisingly little.

However, it’s worth investing some money in what is considered a ‘good’ podcast setup.

Typically, this will involve a good microphone for your laptop and maybe a few extras, such as pop filters and microphone stands.

Personally, I really like the Blue Yeti microphone when conducting online interviews on Zoom (which is free to use when there’s only two of you on a call), and Zoom’s H1n for interviewing people in person.

I’ll soon be upgrading to Zoom’s H6 for in person interviews which has an even greater sound quality and the ability to connect multiple microphones.

(And yes, there are two separate Zoom companies, just to confuse things! Zoom.us is a video conferencing tool whilst zoom-na.com produces professional audio equipment.)

zoom.us has exploded in popularity amongst podcasters!
Editing with Audacity

There are other editing softwares out there, such as Adobe’s Premier Pro, but I’ve always found Audacity to be more than good enough.

It’s completely free to install, available on Windows and Mac, and relatively easy to use.

(It does take some getting use to!)

Structuring your Podcast with Intros & Outros

There’s no hard and fast on what the structure of a podcast should take, or indeed how long one should be.

Joe Rogan’s podcasts typically last over 2 hours, whilst episodes of Marketing School with Neil Patel and Eric Siu are shorter than 10 minutes.

With this in mind, the way I’ve structured my show is just one of countless ways you could do it.

At the start of each show, I have a standard 1 minute intro which details what my show is about, who’s it for and how it can help these people.

The intro and outro sounds come from audiojungle.net. Using royalty free free music is imperative, and Audio Jungle has a great collection of sounds and music, ranging from reggae to electronic and everything in between.

You do have to pay for the music on this site, but to give you an idea of costs, the 4 individual sounds / pieces of music which comprise my intro cost me a total of £50.

Royalty free music is imperative for your podcast. Audiojungle.net is just one of many places you can find it.
Podcast Cover Artwork

I can’t design for sh*t.

That’s why I hired someone to do it for me.

However, because I had choosen a theme and concept for my podcast, I knew what sort of podcast cover I was looking for.

I wanted my podcast’s cover to be colourful, fun and inspired by imagery taken from The Great Gatsby era.

In my mind, when I’m recording an episode for my podcast with a guest, I’m introducing listeners to someone really interesting with lots of fascinating stories to tell!

Therefore, it’s my job as the host of this great, Gatsby-esk party to welcome listeners to the worlds of my guests and make all parties feel at ease.

I relayed all of this information on a contest post on Freelancer.com, set my budget, hid entries from other designers so designers weren’t influenced by the entries of others, and waited.

Some designers were interested in feedback which I willingly gave.

Engaging with designers on the platform like this has a couple of benefits:

  1. It helps you get a better-looking design that closely matches your brief.
  2. It’s a signal to other designers that you’re human, trustworthy and will pay the award when the time comes.

With all the added criteria and prize money for the winning designer, the total cost to me for my podcast artwork cover came to £70.

Once the deadline for entries passed, I took a week to deliberate which design I preferred (asking close family and friends in the process) and selected the winner.

Contracts were then signed and I was able to download JPEG, AI, PNG and PDF versions of the design.

Make it crystal clear what you’re looking for and use simple language if you can. For many freelance designers, English isn’t their first langauge.
Social Media Banners & Web Design

Following working with a designer for my podcast artwork cover, I contacted the winning designer again and asked if they’d like to help me design social media banners and elements for my website.

Social media banners are often under-used pieces of real estate and can help you provide more details of what you offer, as well as social media handles and contact details.

The same goes with website elements.

Over the course of a few months, by communicating over email and paying with PayPal, my designer produced numerous pieces of work for me.

He’s extremely reliable, works quickly, and because he’s based in India, purchasing power parity means his prices are very reasonable.

(If you’d like me to make an introduction, email me at scott@entrepreneurscanparty.com)

entrepreneurs can party
My designer has made numerous website elements & social media banners for me since we started working together.
Pick a Launch Date

Don’t underestimate the power of accountability!

As well as not wanting to let down your future listeners, choosing a launch date for new podcast will help you prioritise on the most important tasks at hand.

It will also give you a timeline of when guests can expect to see their podcast go live.

For example, if you record 10 episodes with guests and you’re planning on releasing one new episode a week, you’ll be able to tell ‘guest 10’ that their episode will be going live 10 weeks past the date of your launch.

This consideration builds trust and can help build anticipation of your launch.

Just an added note on your podcast launch date:

My podcast mentor suggests British Summer Holidays are typically a bad time to launch a new podcast if you’re based in the U.K. as people might be having to look after their kids, they might not be commuting to work as often etc.

This will vary on your audience and podcast category but factors like this are worth bearing in mind.

Somewhat counter-intuitively, summer holidays aren’t the best time to launch a new podcast.
Podcasting Systems
Buzzsprout for Podcast Hosting

In order to distribute your podcast across multiple platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Alexa, you’ll need a podcast host.

I really like Buzzsprout for a number of reasons as you can find in the online tools for entrepreneurs page on my site, such as comprehensive podcasts stats, access to their affliate marketplace and much more.

It’s worth nothing that there are PLENTY of podcast hosting companies to choose from, including Burberry, Libsyn, Anchor.fm and Acast, to name just a few.

Each have there own pros and cons regarding price, support and other important variables so I’d recommend checking out the main players to see which could be the best fit for you.

Buzzsprout is just one of many excellent podcast-hosting providers.
Professional Email:

This isn’t a necessity by any means but personally I think something like scott@entrepreneurscanparty.com looks better than, say, entrepreneurscanparty@gmail.com

(Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against Gmail!)

I’ve always used GoDaddy for anything email and website related and they’ve always been fantastic!

Calendly.com

Again, this isn’t essential, but if you’re looking to bring guests onto your show, this fantastic tool will make scheduling recordings 1000 times easier!

This useful video by Christie Bilbrey goes through this tool in more detail.

No more back and forth in emails trying to nail down a recording date!

Alex Chisnall’s Podcast Launch Programme

Alex is the host of the #1 rated podcast Screw It, Just Do It and has interviewed countless fantastic guests, including Piers Linney, Steven Bartlett and James Haskell, to name just a few.

It’s for this reason that when he announced he was launching his very own podcasting course, I was all over it!

I have to say it’s up there as the best £199 I’ve ever spent!

Spread over 12 weeks, Alex’s Podcast Launch Programme covers everything from recording content, booking guests and how to rank in the Apple Podcast charts.

Although all of this information is available freely on the internet (and indeed this very blog post!), the way the course is structured and the one-to-one support Alex gives all of his students means I would highly recommend jumping on his course.

He’s soon to be doing a Udemy podcast course too with the wonderful Louise Croft (@digitalnomadgirl) which I know will be excellent too!

If you’re looking to launch your own successful podcast, I can’t recommend Alex’s course more highly enough!
Building Your Network Using Social Media

This is perhaps the most crucial part of launching a successful podcast to ranking in the Apple Podcast charts, and it’s something I’m asked about most frequently.

There’s no silver bullet. Building a network that engages with your content doesn’t happen overnight.

It takes patience, consistency, adapting to the wants of those who follow you, and perhaps most importantly of all, no expectations.

No ones owes you anything.

Something I come back to time and time again is something JLD, host of Entrepreneurs on Fire, once told me:

“Strive to understand before being understood.”

To this end, I spend an average of 20-30 minutes each day engaging in the content of my followers.

I leave meaningful comments on post. I respond to Instagram stories. I celebrate their achievements and offer hope when they feel down.

If someone comments on one of my posts, I ALWAYS respond.

If I don’t have to time out their profile in the moment, I’ll take a screenshot so it’s in my photos for me to check out later.

And all of this is natural. Never do I attempt to promote my podcast or sell them a service.

Never.

Strive to understand before being understood.

What I find is if I’m engaging with others, they’ll naturally want to see what I’m up to.

That’s how to naturally grow your network.

All the while you’re posting great content EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Something I’ve been doing more frequently is posting in Facebook groups relating to podcasting.

If someone has a specific podcasting question, I’ll offer assistance where I can.

If someone has a podcast relating to entrepreneurship or self-improvement, I’m particularly interested.

If we develop a natural connection, opportunities to guest on each others’ podcasts may arise.

Engaging in social media comments is an effective strategy to grow your network.
Building Your Network Through Events & Guest Appearances

“Podcast listeners listen to podcasts.”

JLD, Entrepreneurs on Fire

When you hear this, it sounds RIDICULOUSLY obvious, am I right?!

And yet 90% of podcasters forget that one of the best ways to reach new listeners is to guest on other shows.

That’s why I’ve made a concerted effort to reach out to podcasters and see if there’s an opportunity to guest on their show.

A few things to note on this.

Be realistic. If you’re trying to guest on Joe Rogan’s podcast, you’d better have an incredible fanbase of hundreds of thousands of fans who will download the show and share it with all their friends.

If this isn’t you at this moment in time, reach out to podcasters who have similar audience sizes.

How can you tell?

Ask yourself the following questions:

How many followers do they have on the social media platform they use the most?

More importantly, what’s the engagement like in their social media posts?

Sure, someone might have 1000s of followers, but if only one or two people are commenting on their posts, something seems iffy.

How many reviews does their podcast have on Apple Podcasts? If they’ve got a similar amount to you, you can be pretty sure that you’re on a similar level.

Have something to offer.

With all the podcasters I reach out to by email, I structure an email in the following way:

I have a few lines saying which episodes of theirs I like and why.

I detail which topics they’re show has covered so far and what topics I can talk to them about on their podcast to complement these.

I suggest a potential podcast title for each suggested topic and bullet points of things we could discuss on the show about the topics.

I thank them for taking the time to read my email and how I hope to hear from them soon (whilst making it perfectly clear that I appreciate how busy they are so no worries if they can’t).


(If you’d like a template email for what I use, drop me an email at scott@entrepreneurscanparty.com and I’ll add you to my weekly newsletter and send the template to you)


Guesting on other podcasts isn’t the only way to build your network in person.

I’ve met many fantastic podcasters and like-minded entrepreneurs at networking events and business conferences.

Although they often have costs associated with attending – whether that’s tickets to get in or hotel & travel costs – I’ve found them to always be worth it.

Not so much for the talks and activities (which are often useful too) but for the bits inbetween.

The lunches. The coffee breaks. The trips to the loo.

It sounds silly but it’s during these trivial encounters where the networking magic happens.

Seth Godin tells an interesting tale on this. He says that despite paying thousands to attend TED Events, he doesn’t listen to ANY of the talks.

Nope, he spends his time at the cocktail bar meeting people.

If it works for Seth, it can work for you.

Guesting on other podcasts is one of the best ways to grow your podcast audience.
Competitions / Giveaways

Everyone loves a giveaway, particularly when there are no strings attached!

That’s why I decided to launch one on my Instagram.

I’ve done them for various projects before, including giving away a £1,000 STA Travel Voucher, so I knew it would work again.

Because a lot of my followers like to read and educate themselves on topics like self-development and entrepreneurship, I did a competition where I would be giving away 20 of my favourite books:

Book competition on Instagram.

To enter, all people had to do was follow my Instagram @entrepreneurscanparty and tag a ‘fellow-booklover’ in the comments.

The more booklovers they tagged, the more entries they’d get (and so the greater their chances of winning!)

One the day of the podcast launch, I posted a video of me packing the books into my car and announced who the randomly-chosen winner was (tagging them in the video too, of course).

The winner then kindly tagged me in their Instagram stories as they revealed the books.

For me, the important thing about giveaways is to:

  1. Make them relevant and appealing to your audience
  2. Make them easy for people to enter whilst still making it worthwhile for you to put them on (i.e. seeing an increase in followers and exposure on the winner’s social media was a worthwhile ‘trade’ in my eyes)
  3. DON’T ASK any potential winners to share that they’ve won on their social media. If it’s a great prize, they’ll WANT to talk about it!
  4. Exceed the winner’s expectations when they receive your prize. I personally delivered the box of books to the winner of my book competition, wrapped them in personalised Entrepreneurs Can Party wrapping paper, and left a note inside, as well as 4 bonus books and a handful of personalised Entrepreneurs Can Party bookmarks

Main Trailer

Creating a short, 1-2 minute that introdices what your show is about is useful for a couple of reasons.

It builds anticipation!

It’s widely appreciated by marketers that people often need to see things at least 6-7 times before they take action on what they see.

Therefore, creating a main podcast trailer and posting it repeatedly across your social media channels prior to your podcast launch is extremely useful.

And don’t worry about promoting it too much!

Whenever you can, mention in your content that you’re launching a new podcast and include a link to your trailer.

You can test that the hosting is working and that you’re podcast will be approved in time by Apple.

In order for your podcast to rank on Apple Podcasts, it needs to be approved by Apple.

Typically, this will only take a few days, but it can take longer; say over a week.

Because Apple Podcasts currently accounts for around 50% of all podcast downloads, you’ll want to make sure that your new podcast is on here when you launch.

That’s why creating a trailer again proves to be a good idea.

Launching a podcast trailer up to a week before your launch date tests that your episodes are being pulled through from your hosting provider to the various podcast-playing platforms, such as Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Buzzsprout provides some really useful resources on the criteria you need to pass the approval process for each podcast-playing platform, such as how big your podcast artwork cover needs to be and what details you need to provide about your podcast.

It’s also worth noting that Buzzsprout lets you easily schedule episodes in advance, meaning you can schedule multiple episodes to be released at the same time for your launch.

If you’d like to sign up with Buzzsprout, my affiliate link will give you a $20 Amazon Gift Card if you sign up and a nice little kickback to me.

Just a note of warning about the trailer.

If you’d like to try and rank in the Apple New & Noteworthy section, which I’d DEFINITELY encourage you to aim for, you have a 6-8 week window to get as many downloads and reviews as possible.

Apple New and Noteworthy = more eyeballs = more listens and downloads = a higher ranking position!

By posting a trailer a week before the official launch, you effectively have one less week to get those downloads and reviews in.

This shouldn’t put you off using a main trailer but it’s worth being aware of.

Here’s what mine sounds like:

Schedule Your Main Trailer, An Intro Episode & A Full Length Episode

There’s some debate in podcasting circles as to how many episodes you should release when you try to rank in the Apple Podcast charts for your launch.

My podcast mentor suggested 6 or 7. The logic here is that if someone listens to your podcast when it launches and you’ve only got one episode, you’ll only register 1 download from this listener.

(Ranking highly in the Apple Podcast charts is all about downloads and reviews!)

Therefore, if you launch with 6 or more episodes, you could get 6 times as many downloads or more.

HOWEVER, after speaking with JLD about this, I have a slightly different approach.

Podcast listeners are completists. We like to finish what we’re listening to.

Therefore, if you launch with a lot of episodes, you risk the danger of overwhelming listeners before you’ve even got going!

That’s why I took JLD’s advice and only launched with 3 episodes + the main trailer.

Podcast listeners are completists so it’s best NOT to overwhelm them with episodes during the launch.

Post-Launch

Once you’ve launched your podcast across as many platforms as you can, the real work truly begins if you want to get your podcast to rank in the Apple Podcast charts!

Here are the most important steps I took (and continue to take) following my podcast’s launch.

Books & Bookmarks to My Network

As I’ve mentioned previously, I know a lot of people in my network like reading books.

That’s why I decided to make giving away books a priority.

I also made some personalised Entrepreneurs Can Party bookmarks to go with them.

This way, people who I posted books to would be reminded of my podcast everytime they gave it a read.

It’s the little things that make a difference.

I didn’t send a new book to everyone though. (I’m not made of money!)

Instead, I send out maybe a dozen copies of Anything You Want by Derek Sivers to ‘key people’ in my network who have either a large following or know a lot of people.

The response was positive.

Asking your Network to Subscribe & Review

This is crucial.

In order to rank in the Apple Podcast charts, you need downloads and reviews.

And just as importantly, you need consistent downloads for each episode you release.

This signals to Apple that your podcast has momentum and is trending positively.

How do you build this momentum?

Ask your network to subscribe to your podcast when they listen.

This way, they’ll be notified everytime you release a new episode, just like you would on YouTube if you subscribe to your favourite channel.

More attention = more listens = better chance of ranking in the Apple Podcast charts.

Do you need LOTS of downloads?

Absolutely not!

(Download numbers are those in the far right column.)

The other crucial component is the number of reviews you get.

Depending on which category you try to rank for, you’ll be surprised at how few reviews you need in order to start competing with the high-flyers.

For me, 24 reviews was enough to break into the U.K. top 10 for Entrepreneurship.

And once you rank in, say, the top 10 or 20 or whatever, you can make a big show and dance about it across ALL your social media platforms.

rank in the apple podcast charts
If you rank in the apple podcast charts, be sure to mention it in your social media bios!

So how do you ask for the reviews?

There’s no single way. What I found useful, however, was to be EXTREMELY methodical.

I left it a couple of days (in case people are naturally inclined to leave a review) before messaging people.

To do this, I knocked up a quick Excel spreadsheet and decided to directly message 30 people in my network every single day post-launch until I ran out of likely contacts.

The spreadsheet allowed me to track who I contacted, when I contacted them, whether they responded, how I can contacted them, and the like.

It wouldn’t just be a blank message to everyone. I would personalise each and every message so that people were at least aware I was being thoughtful.

I was also quite tactical as to who I contacted and when.

I figured my closest friends wouldn’t need much prompting and so I contacted them first.

From here, I gradually moved further and further from my core friends to people who I’ve struck up connections with on Instagram & LinkedIn.

(Imagine a stone being thrown into a lake and the cocentric circles that ripple outwards.)

I was somewhat surprising as to who did and who didn’t leave reviews.

Some who I figured would jump on it straight away still haven’t bothered to this date and some who I thought would be long-shots were keen to help.

I’m grateful for every single one!

As a rule of thumb, you can ‘expect’ maybe 10% of the people you reach out to to leave a review.

(I know, I know; I thought that sounded low too. It has, however, proved to be about right.)

In other words, if you’re looking to get 100 reviews, you’ll probably need to ask at least 1,000 people.

rank in the apple podcast charts
Around 10% of people you ask will leave a review on Apple Podcasts.

Something else to be aware of is it’s currently very difficult for Android users to leave a review anywhere.

This is particularly unfortunate for me as 5 or 6 of my close friends use Android devices.

Goddammit Google!

Should you keep pestering & reminding people days after asking them once to leave reviews?

It certainly wouldn’t do any harm! Some people might simply forget so a reminder say a week later could be appreciated.

Personally, however, I wouldn’t feel comfortable reminding the same person more than once. It feels too much like begging.

You just have to accept that even though it takes less than 30 seconds to rate and review a podcast on Apple Podcasts, and even though it MASSIVELY helps you as a podcaster, some people just won’t bother!

Besides, that are other ways to jog peoples’ memories about leaving a review without directly messaging them.

I ran a competition to win a year’s supply of Netflix throughout April 2020. I figured more people would be spending more time watching TV given the Corona outbreak, and it would only cost about £100.

To enter, all people had to do was leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts.

If they wanted a couple of bonus entries, they could share the competition post on their Instagram stories.

Results so far?

5 more reviews and plenty of social shares.

They all help!

Running competitions post-launch can help generate extra podcast reviews.
Challenge Network & Feedback

If you want to keep improving your podcast and keep delivering value to your audience, feedback is important.

There are a couple of useful ways to get this.

The most obvious way to do this is by directly asking those who leave positive comments about your podcast – whether that’s on your social posts or by privately messaging you.

They’ve already shown by reaching out that they care about your show and in all likelihood they want you to get better.

Here are 4 questions I like to ask those who reach out to me about Entrepreneurs Can Party:

  1. What do you like about the show?
  2. What don’t you like about the show?
  3. How did you find out about it?
  4. What’s one problem you’re facing right now either personally or professionally?

Questions 1 and 2 help me get an understanding of what’s working and how you I improve.

Note that you have to make it clear that you want to keep improving your show so saying things they don’t like is welcomed by you. I’ve found people don’t like being harsh!

To this end, acknowledging an area of genuine weakness yourself about your show will help elicit that critical feedback.

Answers to question 3 help me get a better picture of how people are finding my show and what I can do to facilitate this even more.

For example, if someone finds it through one of their friends, can I help facilitate even more word of mouth marketing, maybe through competitions like the ones mentioned above?

And finally, answers to question 4 help me find ways to bring even more value to my audience.

If I find lots of people are struggling with topic A, I could do a podcast episode about topic A.

Equally, if you’re looking to maybe one day monetise your podcast, you could consider creating a product or service that solves these problems.

Or you could reach out to a company that solves these problems and see if they would like to sponsor your show.

Although these tactics aren’t necessarily going to increase your chances of ranking in the Apple Podcast charts in the short-term, delivering value over the long-term is a great way to build a dedicated listenership.

rank in the apple podcast charts
Feedback can give you a steer on the content you create for your audience.

Another way to elicit feedback about your podcast is to build a challenge network.

It sounds very fancy but it’s actually quite simple.

A challenge network is essentially a group of people whose opinions you trust and value highly, whether it’s because they themselves have a successful podcast or otherwise, and who you ask directly for feedback.

It doesn’t have to be a formal setup. For me, I have 4 people at the moment who I periodically ask for feedback about my show.

These are people whose opinions I value and who I know have my best interests at heart when they suggest improvements.

It could be as simple as having a chat with them over the phone once every 4 months about what they like about my show, what they dislike and what sort of content they’d like to see next.

Nothing fancy. Nothing schmoozy. Just plain old good friends looking out for one another.

Tagging People in Social Media Posts

One of the best ways to get your podcast in front of more eyes is by encouraging others to share it.

And one of the most effective ways to facilitate this is by tagging relevant parties in your social media posts.

For example, I always make sure to tag guests in social media posts on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter & Tik Tok (if they have them).

Absolute no-brainer.

There are also other ways to tag people in your social posts without it seeming contrived.

If you mention a particular resource during an episode, be sure to link to it in your shownotes. This way, you’ve got a reason to tag the relevant person in your post.

You’re promoting their work on your podcast, after all!

For example, in this episode about outsourcing work to virtual assistants, I mention lots of useful resources which have helped me, such as Louise Henry’s brilliant YouTube channel.

I mention it in the podcast so I provide a link in the shownotes.

Mentioning useful resources in podcast shownotes gives you another reason to tag people on social media.

When it came to promoting the episode on social media, I made sure to tag Louise in the posts and Instagram stories to let her know that I’m a big fan of her work.

What’s more, it can also be the beginnings of a new online connection and who knows where that could lead!

(And in case you’re wondering, yes, I did tag Louise in a post about this blog post you’re reading right now!)

how to rank in the apple podcast charts
Tag people as often as you can in social media!
Social Media Consistency

I hear a lot of people moaning about social media:

“Instagram’s organic reach isn’t what it used to be.”

“I haven’t got time for it.”

“It’s such a ball-ache!”

I get it. Being consistent and showing up day in day out for your audience can be EXHAUSTING.

And although now and again someone will reach stratospheric heights from seemingly nowhere, this is an anomaly.

Building and fostering a kind network of people who can help you rank in the Apple Podcast charts takes time.

There’s no silver-bullet.

There are 3 pillars which underpine whether someone will support you and become part of your tribe / network:

  • KNOW
  • LIKE
  • TRUST

Spot the commonality between them?

All of these things take time.

You don’t feel like you know someone until you spend a lot of time with them. And on social media, where we’re bombarded with information flying at us from all angles, it’s easy to forget those looser connections.

Trust builds over time too.

Showing up consistently to your audience and providing valuable content will keep them coming back for now.

In turn, this will help them get to know you more, like you more and trust you more.

And so the virtuous cycle continues.

Personally, I post on Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter at least once a day, with Instagram being my social media platform. I also do regular Instagram stories every day.

For those who are even more connected with the work I’m doing, I post an email every Sunday which explores things I’ve been thinking about during the week and the podcast episodes I’ve released.

Be consistent. Showing up at the same time, EVERY TIME, builds trust.

People can get to know you more and will (hopefully) come to like you for bringing to the world what you’re all about!

Know, Like & Trust factors are hugely important in growing your network.
Top 10 Ranking Attracts Even Bigger Names

If you happen to rank in the Apple Podcast charts following a successful launch, let people know about it!

Post screenshots on your social media of your chart positions. Watch together in anticipation as you climb the rankings. Build the excitement!

Let your audience know that together you can break into the top 10 if you they a review and support the podcast!

That feeling of belonging to something and having your voice heard is extremely powerful.

When you break into the top 25 or top 10 or even into position 1, make a reference to it on all your social media bios.

Don’t forget about your email footer too!

This gives you the credibility and springboard to reach out to even bigger names who you’d like to bring onto your show.

You see, even if your download numbers are quite small, a top 10 ranking is impressive and people will want to be on your podcast because of it!

(Incidentally, if you’d like to see the cold email I sent to Scott Harrison, CEO of charity: water, which got a response from his team in less than 24 hours and who will now – hopefully – be appearing on Entrepreneurs Can Party in the summer, email me at scott@entrepreneurscanparty.com)

Who would you most like to appear on your podcast? Make a top 100 list, DM them or send an email, and see where those moonshots take you!

Email footers are an under-appreciated piece of real estate to promote your podcast.
DON’T WORRY ABOUT MONETISING

This helpful blog post from Buzzsprout can help set your expecations about monetising your podcast.

Bottom line: Until you reach 1,000 downloads per episode, don’t even think about it!

Just keep providing valuable content and continue to grow your listenership.

Some podcasters even go as far as saying don’t feel like you have to ever directly monetise your podcasts through sponsors, affiliates and the like.

The spillover benefits can far exceed any of this.

However, if monetising is on your radar for one day, this fantastic episode by Alex Chisnall gives plenty of ways you can do this, whether it be through sponsors, creating courses, affiliates – the list goes on!

This fantastic blog post by Buzzsprout can help set your expectations around monetising your podcast.

So there you have it!

An incredible amount of work goes into a successful podcast launch to rank in the Apple Podcast charts, and even then, there are no guarantees.

Trust will flow between yourself and your network, and those downloads and reviews may not come in as easily as you might think.

However, by following the tips in this post, you should give yourself the best chance possible to rank in the Apple Podcast chats and hopefully achieve a top 10 ranking like Entreprneuers Can Party – if not better!

Are there any tips you think I’ve missed that have worked particularly well for you?


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