Podcasting for Introverts | How to Start a Podcast & Podcasting Tips for Introvert Entrepreneurs, Solopreneurs, & Online Coaches

6. Podcasting Strategies For a Successful Launch: How I Made the Apple Podcasts Top 20

December 19, 2023 Julia Levine | The Podcast Teacher™
6. Podcasting Strategies For a Successful Launch: How I Made the Apple Podcasts Top 20
Podcasting for Introverts | How to Start a Podcast & Podcasting Tips for Introvert Entrepreneurs, Solopreneurs, & Online Coaches
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Podcasting for Introverts | How to Start a Podcast & Podcasting Tips for Introvert Entrepreneurs, Solopreneurs, & Online Coaches
6. Podcasting Strategies For a Successful Launch: How I Made the Apple Podcasts Top 20
Dec 19, 2023
Julia Levine | The Podcast Teacher™

Are you curious about what goes into a successful podcast launch?  In today's episode, I'm breaking down podcasting strategies for making the Apple Podcast Charts and achieving download number goals. Plus, I'll share the big mistake that I made during my launch...even though I should have known better!

Resources mentioned:
Chartable
Buzzsprout Global Stats
Apple Podcasts Charts

Thinking about starting a podcast? Grab my free Podcast Roadmap: 7 Questions to Start Your Journey at www.ThePodcastTeacher.com/roadmap

This episode was produced by me, The Podcast Teacher! Contact me at Hello@ThePodcastTeacher.com.

👋 On your phone? Click to text me your podcasting questions! Include your email address in the message if you'd like a direct response 😀

REGISTER FOR THE FREE PODCASTING 101 WORKSHOP, STARTING JULY 29TH:
www.ThePodcastTeacher.com/workshop

Show Notes Transcript

Are you curious about what goes into a successful podcast launch?  In today's episode, I'm breaking down podcasting strategies for making the Apple Podcast Charts and achieving download number goals. Plus, I'll share the big mistake that I made during my launch...even though I should have known better!

Resources mentioned:
Chartable
Buzzsprout Global Stats
Apple Podcasts Charts

Thinking about starting a podcast? Grab my free Podcast Roadmap: 7 Questions to Start Your Journey at www.ThePodcastTeacher.com/roadmap

This episode was produced by me, The Podcast Teacher! Contact me at Hello@ThePodcastTeacher.com.

👋 On your phone? Click to text me your podcasting questions! Include your email address in the message if you'd like a direct response 😀

REGISTER FOR THE FREE PODCASTING 101 WORKSHOP, STARTING JULY 29TH:
www.ThePodcastTeacher.com/workshop

Hey. Hey, and welcome back. In today's episode, I'm going to share about the successful launch of this podcast, which at the time of this episode's release occurred exactly 2 weeks ago today on December 5, 2023. I'm going to be breaking down the podcasting strategies that I used and that you can too as well as sharing some of the mistakes that I made along the way. But first, I want to very clearly state that Success is a subjective term that can mean different things to different people. For some people, just doing the dang thing and pressing Publish is a success with no other qualifications. For others, they may want to hit a certain number of downloads or appear on the podcast charts to consider their launch a success. I encourage you to define what a successful launch looks like for you before it happens.


   

That way you have clearly defined the goals that you're working towards and can evaluate the results without getting wrapped up in any emotions. For my podcast launch, I had 3 goals. 1st, press publish. If you've listened to previous episodes, you know that this podcast has literally been years in the making. So following through and not chickening out was a big part of my criteria for success. My second goal was to appear in the top 100 for my category on the Apple Podcast charts. And my 3rd and final goal was to have 150 downloads within 7 days. Let's start with the results and then I'll work backward to explain how I got there.


   

First and foremost, I pressed publish. You can hear more info about how I achieved that goal in episodes 1 and 4, so I won't be going into that aspect in this episode. Regarding my 2nd goal of ranking in the top 100, Podcasting for introverts actually ranked on the Apple Podcast charts in the top 100 in 3 different Countries on Launch Day. It appeared as number 1 in New Zealand, Number 17 in the USA and number 44 in Germany. And as an added bonus, the show was listed as a top 10 of the week on Goodpods. All of these achievements were within my category of how to. So let me provide a little context. Apple Podcasts has a chart for each category in each country.


   

In most cases, it's easier to rank in countries outside of the US, so I am especially proud of reaching number 17 on the US chart. Funny story, I actually went up to number 12 overnight from December 5th to 6th, but I was back to number 17 by the time I woke up. So I didn't actually get a screenshot of the placement itself. I just have the report from after the fact, which leads me to explain how to see your rankings. For the large categories like business, health and fitness, true crime, etcetera, you can view them in your Apple Podcasts app in the top shows area. For smaller categories, Apple doesn't provide a way to see them within the app, So you need to use a third party site to track those. There are a couple different options. I prefer the site called Chartable.


   

You can set up a free account to track your podcast and keep tabs on your ranking. So at this point, you might be wondering, why do these chart rankings matter? There are 2 different reasons. The first is that some people discover new podcasts by browsing the charts. However, since I just mentioned a moment ago that only the large categories of charts are available on the app, This isn't applicable for smaller categories like mine. Now you might be wondering why I would Choose a smaller category if it means that my podcast will be hidden from the big charts. And there are several factors that go into picking a category. And so for the sake of simplicity right now, I'll just say that For the purposes of thinking about the charts, there's less competition on the smaller charts and it's generally easier to rank. The second reason that the chart rankings matter is simply for marketing and street cred.


   

When I say that my podcast debuted number 17 on the US Apple Podcast chart in the how to category, That sounds pretty impressive. Right? If you're looking to learn about a topic and there are 2 similar podcasts on that topic, One has a chart ranking and the other doesn't. Most people are going to want to learn from the podcast that's on the charts because it's perceived as, quote, unquote, better. Doesn't mean that it is better, but you and I are savvy enough to know that accolades, marketing, and perception matter when it comes to running a business. Also, I'm talking about the Apple Podcast charts because that's the primary focus in the industry, and Apple is currently the most popular podcast player. But Spotify is catching up, and they have charts too. I don't really hear anyone talking about making the Spotify charts nor did my podcast appear on them. So I can't really speak to that process right now.


   

Okay. So my 3rd and final goal was to have 150 total downloads by the end of my 1st week. If you're new to the world of podcasting, let me just take a quick second to define downloads. This is the podcast industry's standard of measurement, but someone does not actually have to physically download an episode in today's era of streaming. It gets a little complicated to describe what actually counts as a download. So for the sake of simplicity, I'm going to say that you can think of downloads as the number of times that the play button is pressed. That's not exactly what it is, but it's close enough for the purposes of understanding this conversation. So my podcast goal was 150 downloads, and I actually ended up with 330 Hoo.


   

Woo hoo. Someone in my audience asked me what quote, unquote good Download numbers are for a launch. And so I consulted my favorite resource for such things, the Buzzsprout global stats page. I'll leave a link in the description in case you'd like to check it out too. It's updated every month, and the numbers fluctuate a little. But according to the stats for November, you need 33 downloads per episode in 7 days to be in the top 50% of podcasters. 123 to be in the top 25%. I released 4 episodes on launch day, which is another key element of a launch strategy.


   

I suggest launching with at least 3 episodes, 4 or 5 if you can. I don't have time in this episode to go into content strategy, but make sure that these first Episodes will be interesting to a majority of your target audience. Okay. Back to download numbers. So 332 downloads over 7 days for 4 episodes equates to 83 downloads per episode. Of course, in reality, each episode did not get equal downloads. Some episodes were more popular than others, but we're keeping it simple here. So 83 downloads per episode puts the podcast numbers somewhere around the top 35%, which I am very happy with.


   

This circles back to the whole definition of success thing because For some people out there, that could be a really pitiful number. But I am ecstatic, So it's all relative. And now that you know what my goals were and that I achieved them, it's time to dig into the how. I wanted to give you some context, But now I promise we're about to get in to the good stuff, including my big mistakes. I started about 2 weeks before the launch date by assembling a launch team of people who would sign up to help me promote the podcast. And because we humans are busy, busy, busy, And we rarely do things for anyone other than our besties unless there's something in it for us. I decided that the launch team would be eligible for some awesome prizes. I thought it would be a good idea to give away a Full scholarship to my podcast Startup Academy program and $250 worth of Amazon gift cards.


   

But to split them up so that 5 different people would each win $50. My logic was that it would give each person a greater chance of actually winning something, but I think my logic was flawed in that moment of decision making because just like more people buy lottery tickets, the higher the jack PodGETS. I think I would have been better off keeping it as $1.250 gift card. I don't know that for sure, but in hindsight, I think that was my first mistake. However, I didn't realize that at the time. I also want to say that you don't have to spend a lot of money on your launch or any money, really. I chose to give Amazon gift cards because I thought that would be really motivating for people. And as the podcast teacher, the podcast is a big asset for my brand, and I wanted to go big.


   

You can give away free sessions with you, scholarships to your programs, digital products, Really, anything that your audience would want regardless of whether or not you have to spend money to get it to them. Okay. So I started emailing my list, which was about 1200 ish people, And I was posting to my social media following of about 8 asking them all to join my launch team. Side note, I know part of the promise of this podcast is that you can use podcasting to get off of social media, But it's not an overnight thing, and I'm planning a whole episode about that for the not too distant future. But, anyway, I emailed and posted in front of these 2,000 ish people asking them to join my launch team and told them about the amazing prizes that they could win. I was super excited that 70 people signed up to be on the launch team. Of course, I've been through this before with students and clients, So I had expectations that only about half of them would actually follow through and promote. I created swipe copy and ready to post graphics for the launch team to use, and I laid out very clearly what needed to be done in order to enter the giveaway.


   

Here's where things went a bit sideways. I asked the launch team to do too many things, and I can't believe that I did this because I caution my clients and students all the time about making the giveaway as easy as possible to enter, and I didn't follow my own advice. I had asked them to follow and listen to the show, Write a review, share it with their audience, and then fill out a form with screenshots showing me what they did. Yeah. I know. I got carried away. The worst part is that I knew better and Somehow just got caught up in it anyway. Ugh.


   

As a result, I had only 11 people actually enter the giveaway. So learn from my mistakes, assemble a launch Steam, give away a really good prize and simply ask them to follow, listen, and share. You can ask them to tag you in their share for easy tracking. And why those 3 things follow, listen, and share? I'm so glad you asked. Sharing, of course, gets your podcast in front of more people who may be interested, You're increasing your exposure. And then following and listening are especially important if your goals involve getting on to the Apple Podcast Past Charts. Apple doesn't reveal the exact formula for making the charts for obvious reasons, but they do say that it involves a combination of listening, followers, and completion rate. From my industry knowledge, experience with clients, and now my own launch, I feel pretty confident in telling you that a big burst of activity over a short period of time is the trick to making the charts.


   

So you want as many people as possible to hit that follow button and listen to your episodes, ideally, every minute of every episode on launch day itself. If possible, I suggest clearing your calendar for most of the day so that you can focus on spreading the word and encouraging people to take action. Of course, you're going to tell your launch team that it's go time and ask them to do their thing. Make sure to give them words and images that they can use to do this. You want to email your whole list if you have one, Post on your social channels, message your family, etcetera. This is your shout it from the roof Topps Moment. Spell it out for people. Don't assume that they know what to do.


   

Provide a direct link to your podcast on Apple, ask them to click the follow button, and listen to as much of the content as they can. Tell them that it will help you reach your goals and that you share some really awesome stuff in those first few episodes. If you have any groups or networks that you're a part of, Spread the word there as well. Sometimes groups can have no self promo rules, so you might have to get creative with your post, But simply posting a celebration that your podcast about x y z topic is live can often lead to people asking for more info. Remember that social media is ruled by a powerful and Finicky algorithm. As soon as someone leaves a comment on a post, comment back for engagement. This can be a huge time suck, which is why clearing your calendar is ideal. I'll repeat my statement here that I know part of the promise of this podcast is how you can use podcasting to ditch social media.


   

But for your launch day, it's a necessary evil assuming that you've been somewhat active on social up until this point and that's where your audience is connected with you. I promise to share more about how to move away from social soon. Okay. Are you still with me? A couple more things. I want to emphasize that all of this is happening on launch day. To make the charts, you need a lot of activity over a short period of time. If this activity is spread out over a week, it won't have the same impact. Of course, make sure that you're monitoring the charts so that you can take screenshots if you make an appearance.


   

With the strategy of a big burst of activity on launch day, If you're going to rank, it will most likely happen on launch day and or the day after. If you have a download goal in addition to or instead of a chart goal, The same activities of asking people to follow, listen, and share need to happen. They can be spread out throughout the week, though, because download numbers simply accumulate unlike the charts which are time sensitive. Alright. Let's talk about reviews for a second. Apple has explicitly said that reviews do not do not factor into the chart rankings. You'll hear a lot of podcast gurus telling you that you need a bunch of reviews to make the charts. I'll leave the link to Apple's page about the charts in the description in case you don't believe Reviews are important for other reasons, though.


   

And at the time of the launch, it's because they're social Proof. We often rely on the opinions of others to decide whether or not to give something a chance. So I encourage you to pointedly ask specific people to write reviews, family, friends, close colleagues, past and present clients, etcetera. Literally ask each person individually by name. Writing a review on Apple is not the most intuitive process, So you may want to create some instructions with screenshots or make a screen recording demonstrating how to do it. Also, yes, non Apple users can leave reviews, But they have to create an Apple ID and download iTunes onto their computer, which is kind of a pain. So, personally, I wouldn't ask someone that you know for sure is a non Apple user. They can leave a rating in the Spotify mobile app, which is also helpful, but unfortunately, Spotify doesn't accept written reviews.


   

Okay. This episode has gotten way longer than I planned, and we took a few detours along the way. So let me recap what you need to do to have a successful launch in chronological order, and then I will wrap up with one other important podcasting strategy. Step 1, determine your goals and what success looks like to you. Consider clearing your calendar as much as possible for your launch today. Step 2, sign up for a free account with Chartable if your goals involve ranking on the charts. Step 3, assemble a launch team and plan a giveaway. Make the prize good, and don't overcomplicate what they have to do to enter.


   

Step 4, provide the launch team with everything that they need in order to promote on your behalf. Make sure and communicate that it's ideal to promote on launch day itself. Step 5, Publish at least 3 episodes on launch day. Step 6, shout it from the rooftops on launch day. Email, post on your social channels, and announce it in every possible group that you're a part of. Step 7, check frequently for 48 hours and respond to those social posts to engage the algorithm and get your posts in front of new people who could potentially be tuning in. Step 8, Ask individual friends, family, and colleagues to write a review. And at the end of the launch, Thank your launch team by giving every single person a small thank you gift.


   

This could be a new digital product, a complimentary 15 minute session with you, or something else that's feasible for you to provide to many people. Also, remember to celebrate the giveaway grand prize winners and deliver what they won. I'm gonna take just a second to give a shout out to my giveaway winners, and I apologize in advance if I butcher any of these names. Becky Moffet is the winner of the full scholarship to Podcast Startup Academy. And then we have 5 winners for the Amazon gift cards. They are April Zajko, Ashley Evans, Melissa Arnold, Heidi Gustafson, and Beth Barker. Congratulations to all of those winners. 



And finally, I will wrap up with a warning about the post launch slump. You may be on cloud 9 on launch day. Love seeing the downloads and positive comments roll in, and then you'll hear crickets. Next week's download numbers are almost guaranteed to be lower, not because you're doing something wrong, but because people who aren't really your ideal listeners are going to tune in during launch week. Maybe they are friends and family who just want to support you or check out what you're up to, but they don't really have an interest in your topic, so they're not going to continue to tune in week after week. So prepare yourself for that. Even though I've seen it time and time again and I know it's normal and expected, it still doesn't feel good to see the excitement and the numbers decline. Maybe plan something special to perk yourself back up a couple of weeks later if you're someone who has a tendency to be emotionally impacted by these things. Podcasting is a long game, and it takes dedication, consistency, and perseverance.


   

Whether you reach your launch day goals or not, Take time to find something to celebrate and give yourself a pat on the back for showing up. I would love to know if you have more questions about podcasting launch strategies that I didn't cover. You can email me at hello at the podcast teacher.com. And if you're launching soon, I wish you all the best. Let me know about your podcast. I would love to support you. Talk to you soon.