How to build a profitable podcast.
We know... a lot of effort, time, and creativity is required to produce a podcast.
We make this investment of time and cash because, at some point in the future, we believe that our audio content is going to improve someone's life.
It's a noble mission.
And if you weren't to use all the tools at your disposal to help make this happen, you would be neglecting your mission.
One of these tools is... you guessed it: your podcast ranking in podcast directories.
Podcast rankings are vital as they affect how likely people are to discover your podcast. A podcast that ranks highly is quickly found and will therefore be more likely to grow faster, improving more lives in the process.
High rankings give the required social proof to tip the potential listener over to hit that "subscribe" button on Apple Podcasts.
Step one is to understand how you are ranking right now...
Not many podcasters, especially newbies, know how to find how well their podcast ranks. It is essential to understand how well your podcast ranks to determine how well your podcast marketing strategy is performing. If your podcast is ranking well, you know you are doing the right thing, and you keep doing it... and if not, you change your course.
This feedback loop will ultimately lead you to growth. Growth of your podcast and the positive impact it has on the world.
Let's get started...
There are three simple ways to check how your podcast is ranking:
1. Apple Podcasts
The most popular podcast platform.
There are three things you have to note when checking how well your podcast ranks in Apple: reviews, rankings, and ratings.
These elements are all essential, and they work together to help your podcast grow:
Chartable is a SaaS tool that collates all of your ratings, reviews, and rankings into one platform. It is not limited to only Apple Podcasts: it collates ratings and reviews from Podcast Addict and Stitcher also.
We highly recommend our friends over at Podkite for this, they track ALL ratings and reviews for you in one place and then email you each week with an update.
You can start tracking for free by clicking here.
Before we dive into how to find your podcast rankings, let's discuss how we can boost them ;)
I do not claim to know everything that podcast directories consider when ranking a podcast. Still, these factors are likely to do more good than bad when attempting to boost your rankings.
We suggest working through this list to optimize each before moving onto the next one...
As expected, downloads are essential to your podcast rankings. If your podcast gets a download, it sends a massive signal to the directory that your show has value... as someone is investing their time (and data budget) to download your audio.
Like downloads, plays show how well people like your show. According to speculations, it also helps when your show gets repeated plays. Repeated plays are when the same listener plays the same episode more than once. A repeated play indicates that a listener has found value in your episode, and they came back for more.
This is another excellent factor. When you get subscriptions, it shows that a listener loves your show and wants to be aware when the next episode drops. ALWAYS ask your listeners to subscribe to your show! bCast's Audio Inserts feature can be used to insert CTA's to subscribe to your show at the start or end of an episode at any time.
Ratings are feedback from listeners. When you get many ratings for your show, it is likely to affect how well your show is ranked. If your podcasts are getting many four and five-star ratings, it sends a signal that you dish out quality audio. ALWAYS ask your listeners to rate your show!
We may not determine how many reviews affect your podcast rankings, but it is an essential factor. Good reviews help your show get new listeners. One way to get reviews is by asking your listeners on your show. ALWAYS ask your listeners to rate your show!
We recommend writing up a simple process doc that will show your team and subscribers how to review and rate on Apple Podcasts to make it a no-brainer for them... the easier something is to do, the more likely it is that they will do the thing!
You can copy our document here: Rating & Reviewing Hunting Influence On Apple Podcasts
Go take a look at your artwork:
If not, check out the examples and read this MONSTER post on podcast cover art and then head to 99designs and get it redesigned ;)
7. Podcast Description
Does your podcast name and description CLEARLY explain why your podcast exists? If not, please go back to the drawing board and choose a name that does this... and a description that explains this.
We go into detail on how to optimize this further in our post on how to start a podcast.
1. Use Apple Podcasts
This is a simple strategy...
Head to the Apple Podcast desktop application and find your category:
Let's say you run a business podcast, you would click here:
You can then scroll down to see a sub-category within a business:
You can then scroll down to see the top 100 or so podcasts in this sub-category to check if you are ranking:
2. Use Chartable
Chartable tracks the records of several podcast directories rankings over a period. Chartable monitors rankings on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify.
All you need to do is find your podcast to see its rankings in the main and subcategories in which you are listed. You have to select your country so Chartable can display your show’s ranking in your region.
Chartable also shows your show’s current position and how it has performed over time. The green arrow shows improvement while the red arrows show a decrease in rankings.
Ok let's get into the meat... how can we rank higher?
1. Use Appropriate Keywords
When publishing an episode, Apple Podcasts, for instance, allows for twelve keywords. Insert your guest name, guest business, and a couple of keywords that describe the content of the episode.
SEMRush is a great tool for finding keywords in your niche.
2. Produce Great Content
Great content will always rise to the top through word of mouth... if a listener refers to another three listeners you will generate a load of downloads very fast. This will lead to even more downloads, ratings, reviews, subscriptions, and ultimately higher rankings.
3. Encourage Your Listeners To Subscribe
A listener can stream your show’s episode, or download it. But the best thing for your podcast is if they subscribe. Always promote a subscription for your podcast.
At EVERY opportunity, push people to subscribe, rate, and review your show. Whenever anyone says that they like your show, reply and ask them to subscribe, rate, and review on Apple Podcasts. For my show: Confessions Of A B2B Marketer, I read out reviews from listeners and give them and their business a shout out on the show, this has worked very well ;)
4. Keep Show Titles Short
Only a few words appear in the search bar when listeners search for a podcast. Keep your episode titles short and sweet so it is very clear why a potential listener should listen to your show in the first two to three words.
5. Be Consistent
Consistency is key. If your listeners trust you to keep to your show publishing time, they will stay loyal, will keep downloading your episodes ultimately your rankings will improve over time.
In summary... there are MANY things you can do to improve your podcast rankings but it's actually better to forget about your rankings for a while and JUST focus on recording awesome audio content. This is the fastest way to improve your rankings.
Check-in just once every couple of months and then going back to the main task: creating awesome audio that will improve the lives of your listeners.
Thanks for reading and if you have ANY questions about how to boost your podcast ranking, feel free to hit us up on email: firstname.lastname@example.org 🚀