Last Fall I decided to create and publish a new podcast.
I had a podcast years ago but let it go in favor of other marketing activities. However, over the past year I’ve created so much video content for Udemy and YouTube, I knew I could easily convert snippets of those videos into audios. And, I’m a firm believer in spreading your content marketing across a wide variety of channels and offering it in various formats. That way you increase the size of your online footprint, have the greatest chance of being found, and you let people choose to consume the format that best suits them. So, in November 2013 I took the plunge and created The Business Stylist® Podcast.
To help ensure the podcast was successful, I did some research on how to get my podcast featured on iTunes. After all, as a marketer I know that just because you build it, doesn’t mean they’ll come.
Considering that on iTunes, as of July 2013, there were 250,000 different podcasts in 100 different languages, totaling 8 million episodes (according to MacWorld), I can appreciate how being featured on the home page could help a new podcast gain traction.
I followed the advice I was given and hoped for the best.
Within the first eight weeks after launching my podcast, I’m happy to report I was able to get my new podcast featured multiple times in the New & Noteworthy section on the iTunes Podcast Home Page. It was also featured in my category (Business), and in my subcategory (Management & Marketing).
I was told the first eight weeks are key, and that’s the time to get listed in New & Noteworthy.
I promised my clients if I was able to accomplish this goal I would share exactly how I did it.
So here goes… a blow-by-blow recap of the steps I took.
- 10/4/13: Began posting podcast episodes on my blog at 3 episodes per week.
- 11/18/13: Submitted the podcast to iTunes. I did not immediately submit the podcast to iTunes. Instead, I waited until I had a bunch of episodes published on my blog (just so happened to be 18 episodes by the time I got around to submitting to iTunes). The reasoning behind this strategy is that when someone subscribed I’d get 18x the “credit” because they were essentially downloading 18 episodes.
- 11/18/13: I began promoting new episodes of the podcast in my weekly ezine, with a link to the podcast on iTunes.
- 11/18/13: I began promoting the podcast daily on all my social media channels, again with a link to the podcast on iTunes. To save time, I scheduled updates in advance via Hootsuite, to post daily through 12/23/13. (I scheduled another month’s worth in January, after the holidays.)
- 11/22/13: I promoted the podcast via an announcement to my students on Udemy, with a link to the podcast on iTunes.
- 11/25/13: I posted an announcement about the new podcast being accepted to iTunes on my blog, with a link to the podcast on iTunes.
Hopefully you can see this took some planning, preparation, and patience!
11/29/13: 10 days after launching on iTunes, The Business Stylist® Podcast was featured in the Management & Marketing New & Noteworthy section. It may have been listed sooner as I wasn’t checking daily at that point—honestly I thought it would take longer! By this time the podcast had garnered eight, 5-star reviews. Publishing frequency, downloads (listeners), and reviews all contribute to being featured in New & Noteworthy.
Because my ultimate goal was to be featured on the iTunes Podcast Home Page, I knew I still needed more downloads, subscribers, and reviews.
- 12/2/13: I featured an episode of my podcast in my ezine with a request for people to listen, subscribe, and post a review, promising to share how I got featured on the iTunes Podcast Home Page if I was able to accomplish that goal.
Easy come. Easy go.
12/3/13: The Business Stylist® Podcast was no longer being featured on the Management & Marketing New & Noteworthy section. At this point, I realized the New & Noteworthy list constantly changes, so I would need to keep up my aggressive marketing efforts if I wanted to get back on the list, and make it onto the Business category list, and ultimately the iTunes Podcast Home Page.
- 12/9/13: I kept promoting the podcast in my weekly ezine, and daily in social media, always including a link to the podcast on iTunes.
- 12/27/13: The podcast was once again featured in the Management & Marketing New & Noteworthy section. And, this time it stayed there!
- 1/2/14: The podcast was featured in New & Noteworthy on the iTunes Podcast Home Page. By this time I had accumulated 11, 5-star reviews.
Over the next two weeks The Business Stylist® Podcast bounced on and off the New & Noteworthy lists on the iTunes Podcast Home Page, the Business category page, and the Management & Marketing subcategory page.
- 1/22/14: The podcast was no longer listed on any of the New & Noteworthy pages. However, my eight-week window was also closed.
- 2/3/14: I reduced my publishing frequency to one new podcast per week.
What all this translated into in terms of stats.
- As of 3/5/14, The Business Stylist® Podcast has been downloaded 2,458 times.
- The breakdown of downloads by month is as follows:
- November: no stats available
- December: 539
- January: 1,034
- February: 740 (clearly, dropping my pub frequency down to 1x per week had an impact)
- March (as of 3/5/14): 145
- iTunes represents the lion’s share of listens at 54%. Other Apple IOS podcast apps account for the next 19%. The next podcast directory is Stitcher Radio at 5.5%. The message here is make sure your podcast is on iTunes, as it appears that’s where most folks are tuning in!
These aren’t blockbuster numbers by any means, but I’m happy with them. It’s nearly 2,500 marketing impressions in three months that I wouldn’t have had without the podcast. And, it all adds to the proverbial marketing bucket.
My Takeaways and Tips for You…
- Prepare and plan. Don’t just decide to create a podcast and submit it to iTunes. Like anything in marketing, you need to know what your objective is, you need a plan, and you need to be prepared to implement every step of your plan.
- Be sure to have plenty of episodes published before submitting your podcast to iTunes.
- Record and schedule podcasts in bulk for time efficiency (I try to do 1-2 month’s worth at a time).
- Promote your podcast every week via all of your marketing channels.
- Ask for reviews. Some people ask all their friends and family to post reviews and/or bargain for reviews. I did this a bit by telling my subscribers I would share how I got featured on the iTunes New & Noteworthy section if I was able to accomplish my goal. However, I did not ask friends and family to review, nor was I willing to give away free products or courses in exchange for reviews. In my mind that feels a bit like “buying” reviews and it’s not something I’m comfortable with. I’m sure with more reviews I could have probably ranked higher or for longer periods of time, but that’s a trade-off I was willing to make. My perspective is if you ask for reviews within the podcast itself, and people genuinely like it, they will share a positive review. If you bribe people too much, or call in a bunch of personal favors, that doesn’t tell you if the marketplace truly likes the podcast or if its popularity is artificially inflated. I acknowledge there is a lot of artificial inflation on the web in the form of favor reviews and testimonials; it’s just not a game I choose to play, even if it does hurt my results a bit. You have to decide what feels good to you.
- Repurpose your content when possible for efficiency purposes. For example, I extracted audio snippets from some of my video courses, to share as free podcasts. Most people won’t consume your content in all forms. Plus it serves as great marketing for your other programs and services.
- Include a short, branded bumper on the front and back end of each podcast.
- Make sure your podcast content is relevant to the products and services you’re marketing.
- Brand your podcast so it’s consistent with your business brand. In my case, I simply created a brand extension, the same way I have done for my blog. You can see how this can help you get found in Google by checking out the screen capture at the bottom of this post.
- Register a unique URL for your podcast and point it to your podcast on iTunes. It’s less cumbersome and easier to remember than the URL iTunes assigns (e.g. my iTunes URL is https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-business-stylist-podcast/id756099985?mt=2 … Yuck!)
- Be patient. You’re probably not going to get front page results overnight. I certainly didn’t! Keep working your plan and don’t give up. Even when your launch window is over, keep up with your publishing and promotion schedule. Podcasting, like any content marketing strategy, is a long-term marketing strategy. You build an audience over time, and then you begin reaping the rewards.
I’m sure as time goes on I will learn more.
For now, I’ll continue tracking my results, and hopefully growing my listenership so I can extend the reach of my message and ultimately drive more traffic to my website, and programs and services.
I hope this helps you get your podcast featured.
While I can’t promise if you follow these steps your podcast will be featured in the iTunes’ New & Noteworthy sections, I do hope this recap will improve the odds. Truth be told, I didn’t really know what I was doing when I started out. I followed some advice on what to do, and these steps share that very same advice. If you do the same, I’d say your chances of being featured are as good as mine!
Thinking about using podcasting to market your services but not sure where to start?
Check out my Content Marketing course for tips on getting started with podcasting and 10 other low-cost and no-cost marketing strategies.
Why branding your podcast (and branding in general) is so important.
As you can see by the screen capture below, every search result on page one of the Google search results for my brand name is one of my marketing entities. The only exception is the paid ad at the top of the page. Additionally, every entry on page two, with the exception of the last two, are also links to my content. Yes, it pays to develop a unique and memorable brand name and use it throughout all of your marketing! If you want some help developing your brand, you can learn more about my DIY branding course here.
Debbie LaChusa, The Business Stylist® created The Business Stylist® Blog to share proven, real-world marketing advice to help service professionals Package, Brand, Market, and Sell their services. Debbie has more than 28 years of marketing experience and has run her own business since 1998.