Last week I wrote a blog explaining why the top-ranking shows are publishing content weekly and why, if you want to be a top-ranking podcaster, you need to do the same.
By the way, when I say top-ranking I am not just talking about podcast charts or appearing in the platform’s core curated categories, I am talking about the shows that actually do the best!
The ones that move the needle, add to your bottom line, elevate your expert positioning, build your brand and enable you to communicate your core messages.
In this article, we’re going to touch on why a recent research study found that ‘top-ranking shows on certain platforms tend to be newer’.
Spoiler alert, it is basically down to the algorithm but don’t worry, you are not going to need a degree from MIT to understand this, I’ll try and keep it as simple as possible.
So, from the little knowledge that we prise from Apple and other core platforms, their algorithm favours new shows because of how the back end is coded. Essentially, like any other online platform, podcast players have a vested interest to try and serve up the best content that will maximise a user’s time on the platform. They do this by trying to ensure that listeners find what they want — or they make suggestions about what they might like — in as few clicks as possible.
Think of it like audio Amazon shopping — they want to sell you your next favourite show as easily as possible.
Anyway, this clever algorithm seems to look at a few core metrics of content engagement and any activity on a new account is given a higher (much!) weight of importance than more established shows.
From the 166 shows that we have launched to date, we estimate that activity on a new podcast is worth around 30x the exact same activity on a more established show.
So, now you know this, how — as a new show creator- can you benefit from this insider intel?
Basically, here’s the top tip, as the algorithm is going to favour your fresh pod, you need to drive as much attention, activity and traction to your show as possible. We do this for our clients by creating a 14-day marketing and promotional period ahead of the show going live.
Essentially you want to take your cold market and make them warm, whilst taking your warm market and making them hot. The aim of the game here is to push people towards one platform, at one time with one core call to action.
There is also a launch process that we follow where we craft a number of shows — of various lengths — that all go live on the launch day. This encourages multiple activities per listener and also increases the chances of one of the core algorithm boxes being ticked, which is the completion rate of content.
Is there a sweet spot in terms of the amount of content to launch with?
Yes. The experts predict that somewhere between 1–10 shows is the ideal sweet spot for a launch… and we have tested a variety over the years to the point where our launches are a bit of a science these days.
I won’t share the exact process that has led to 98% of our shows being successful launches, that is golden knowledge is reserved for the much-loved clients, celebrities, actors, athletes and experts that we work alongside!
And we are constantly testing this to make sure that as coding and algorithms change we know how to adjust accordingly to give a show the maximum chance of success.
One thing that a lot of podcast purists will tell you is that “charts, new and noteworthy listings and curated categories do not matter”, let me put this BS to bed, they absolutely do! Momentum begets momentum — once a show is successfully launched you can more easily grow your audience, attract the ideal guests, create impactful content, position yourself more highly etc.
I launched a new show Business Marriage myself (actually it is with my Wife, I know, dodgy ground right!?) a few weeks ago and from the success of the launch we have been getting DM’s about advertising & sponsorship options, we have been asked to speak at three events and it has driven a number of highly-qualified warm leads into my podcast agency. So, expertly executing the launch of a show has a big impact on its success.
If you are reading this thinking “well, this all sounds great but I have a show that has been around for a while now” then fear not friend as there is a way to utilise the concepts and processes of launching a show by doing a content refresh, but that’s a subject for another day!
Happy Pod Making.