HOW TO USE CATEGORIES TO HELP YOUR SHOW
A recent survey revealed which categories perform best in country-wide Top Podcasts charts. Across both Apple Podcast and Spotify’s charts Society & Culture, Comedy and True Crime are the three most popular categories of shows.
You might think ‘thanks James, that is moderately helpful but what am I supposed to do with that info?’. Well, knowing this means you can give a bit more careful attention to the categories and subcategories where you list your shows in order to give yourself the best chance of showing up.
As stated on Apple’s site, “Apple Podcasts, recommends shows based on more than 100 categories and subcategories. You can choose up to two categories or subcategories that best reflect the content of your show. The primary category is used to display your show in each category page, Top Charts, and personalized recommendations in Listen Now. The secondary category also helps your show appear in select category pages, in editorially curated collections, and in search. You can set and modify your categories at any time in Apple Podcasts Connect or through a third-party hosting provider.”
Let me decode what the above actually means to you as a content maker:
- You can list your show in two categories or subcategories.
- Your category listing will be used for potential inclusion within charts and editorial curated collection (such as the top new show lists, new and noteworthy and any homepage features they are running).
What we do within our agency, when we are working on client shows, is try to list them under two subcategories within different ‘topline’ categories, as we call them. We do this as it helps the shows that we work on to appear in the main podcast charts as well as a variety of the ‘curated’ placement areas on the major podcast apps.
For example, Business is a main category within Apple Podcast with six subcategories under the business headline; these are Careers, Entrepreneurship, Investing, Management, Marketing and Non-Profit.
So, as long as it is relevant, we would also list a show within a subcategory as it’ll be listed under the main category anyway, but this subcategory listing tactic then also gives us the additional benefit to show up in placements such as ‘Top 50 New Shows’ and the Top 50 shows in the specific subcategory too.
The benefit of this is twofold; firstly, the top 50 listings are a great place for new listeners to organically discover you and secondly, it is great for credibility. Being able to say that you are a Top 50 Entrepreneurship show adds the sort of gravitas to your pod that could secure a sponsor, land you a big name guest or give you a reason to share your success with media within your sector.
I’ll give you a real-world example of our most recent podcast launch.
Business Marriage (which is actually me and my wife sharing the full, gory details of what it is like to live in a double-entrepreneur household!) launched a few weeks ago and as part of the setup we placed the show in two differing subcategories.
We listed ourselves in Entrepreneurship within Business and Comedy Interviews within Comedy. Doing this gave us a chance to get found by different audiences who would be searching in the charts or top 50 listings for those subcategories.
Doing the listings in this way resulted in the show:
Featuring at №10 in the Comedy Interview charts
Being listed as a Top 50 New Business Show
Being listed as a Top 50 New Comedy Show
And being listed as a Top 50 Comedy Interview Show
As I have mentioned in previous blogs, being in the charts is not the be-all and end-all but, as I stated above, being listed in these charts and top categories can be very handy for finding an organic audience for your show and is a great credibility bonus if you know how to leverage the results and create some hype around your outcomes.
As an example of this… Business Marriage launched a few weeks ago, hit the charts, was featured in various ‘top show’ listings which enabled us to make promotional assets of the achievements like you can see below and within a few days the podcast had been picked up by an advertising network and we had actually be asked to give two keynote speeches on how we had done it — one at a very big business event!
Oh, and it drove leads into my agency as well. So the success of what a podcast can do is not about ego and posturing… podcasting done the right way builds expert authority and can result in bottom-line revenue!
So, that shows you why careful consideration should be made about how and where you list your shows.
By the way, if you are completely new to podcasting and you’re wondering how you’re supposed to set this all up, categories and subcategories are managed within your RSS platform provider. So whether you are with Megaphone, Libsyn, Buzzsprout, Acast, Anchor etc. they will all have a section for selecting these options within their platform — it’ll usually be within the ‘podcast settings’ area and looks something like below:
Hopefully, the above info will arm you with some usual tactics for making sure your podcast has the best chance to reach the widest audience and make the biggest impact!
By the way, if you get stuck setting all this up, feel free to pop me a message, my team and I are always more than happy to help content creators, brands and businesses who are looking to make an impact with their powerful pods!
In case you want to look at the list of all 100 categories and subcategories, you can find them here.