The podcasting trend is growing and Apple has reported that there are more than 1 billion podcast subscriptions currently on iTunes. When launching your podcast, one of the best features to take advantage of is the New and Noteworthy Section of iTunes. This is a highly coveted spot on the iTunes Store directory which gets you a lot of recognition by millions of users, and allows you to be highly visible for an amazing 8 weeks.
However, many podcasters have found it difficult to reach this spot, and have missed out on the benefits that it can provide. The type of exposure received by the New and Noteworthy section is rare and you have only one shot to capitalize on it. This is why we have created these great tips to help you do some careful planning so that you too can receive all the benefits.
1.Don’t Rush into the iTunes Podcast Directory
As mentioned, you are only eligible for the New and Noteworthy section for 8 weeks from initial listing. We understand how tempting it is to immediately list it once you’ve recorded that first episode successfully. Even if your podcast is highly successful, it may still reduce your total time in the New & Noteworthy section and will make it harder to get featured overall.
Therefore, make sure that you have a careful and strategic plan of exactly when and how you will be launching. A great tip from Chris Ducker on launch timing is to take advantage of post-Christmas splurge, when there are thousands of new iPhone, iPad, and iPod users who are excited to sign up to all things new. This puts a lot more eyes on iTunes, and also includes many of the “New Years Resolution” seekers, looking for new commitments and new things to try.
Along with timing, you should also carefully plan out how you will be launching. What will your marketing strategy be? How many episodes will you have on-hand? Where will you be finding your audience? And so on. It is also critical to create a thorough description of your show so that potential subscribers will immediately be drawn in with a knowledge of what it is that you have to offer them. So overall, you have to make sure that you have everything ready, which leads us into the next point.
2. Create a High Quality Show
Audiences are much more tech-savvy these days and expect the quality content that not only ads value to their lives, but is also easy on the ears. Great sound is critical, along with a high quality introduction, professional editing work, and well thought-out branding to go with your show. Podcast listeners desire high value content that will really make the listen worth their time.
So what does “high quality” require? For great sound make sure to use the proper equipment and to ensure that your surroundings are appropriately suited to ensure minimal noise disturbances. When your audio recording is a higher level of quality to begin with, it is much easier to edit the track to be even better. Also, be sure to use the appropriate editing software, or if you prefer, hire a professional to edit your episodes for you.
Artwork that pops is also another “must-have” to really attract attention and stand out from all the other shows that are being listed daily. Along with this, interesting and unique topics that are specifically targeted to your audience will also ensure that you receive the traffic you desire. Don’t forget to identify that value added component, add your personality, and really capture the attention of your audience.
3. Launch with at least a few episodes (3 or more)
This is KEY! So why do we recommend launching with more episodes? Here’s how it works. If you launch with only 1 episode, and say you have 100 people download your episode, then you have a total of 100 downloads for the day. However, if you have 3 episodes listed, and those same 100 people see your show, they will automatically download all 3 episodes, which gives you a total of 300 downloads for the day! This is critical for the New & Noteworthy section as it focuses on downloads, so the more downloads you can get, the better.
Another benefit to launching with 3 or more episodes is that it allows you to showcase more of your content. When new subscribers come along, they are able to get a much larger “taste” of what you are going to provide. As we all know, things only get better with practice and time, so this allows you get past that first awkward episode and on to the better ones! This can get your audience “hooked” on your show and demonstrates a stronger commitment to continue providing them with new episodes.
The other two main benefits are more search engine optimization and a stronger momentum to grow with. The more episodes you list, the more content is available for SEO. With a larger number of downloads, there will also be more exposure for your show which creates the momentum you need to grow your audience even further. So overall, make sure to have a few episodes ready for launch date, plus another on deck to ride the wave of momentum you receive from your launch.
4. Utilize Effective Launching Techniques
So how can you really capitalize on your “one-shot”? This is where effective launching techniques come in to play. Although you’ve already taken the important step of launching with 3 or more episodes, now you can boost your momentum by implementing several other techniques. The first of those is to skip “episode 0”.
A great article by Daniel J. Lewis goes through a debate on the “Episode 0” topic, and he concludes by suggesting that new podcasters skip episode 0 and start with great content instead. Rather than spending time on an introduction, you can skip it completely and replace it with something more valuable instead (Source: Should you Launch your podcast with Episode Zero)
Next, is to backdate the first episodes to when they would have been launched if you didn’t wait to grow your content library. This provides a clear map to your audience of the frequency and schedule of your episodes so that they can be sure to tune in when new episodes are released. As previously mentioned, it is also key to have a few more episodes lined up to ensure consistency and keep your listeners supplied with a constant flow of great new content. This also takes some pressure off of yourself, knowing that you are fully prepared and that if anything unexpected were to happen in you schedule, it will not jeopardize your episode release dates.
Finally, make sure to have great episode titles and as mentioned before, artwork that really grabs the attention of new potential subscribers. What will really make your listeners click? These two features work together in harmony to really make your show stand out in the crowd, draw in new listeners, and increase your initial downloads. And as we’ve discussed, more downloads = more exposure, which is exactly what you are aiming for. This leads us into the next point.
5. Get tons of Activity
Activity, activity, activity! To ensure your spot in the New & Noteworthy section you need to boost your downloads. So the more subscriptions you get, the more downloads you will generate over the 8 weeks of “shine-time”. The more buzz and activity you can create around your launch and initial listing period, the more downloads you will be able to secure during the time it truly counts. This is where you need to have a plan in place for optimal activity generation.
First, we recommend you enlist the help of your friends and family to boost your activity. They will definitely be willing to help you out in order to see you succeed. So you can leverage their help in order to get the initial exposure you needed. Don’t be shy! Ask them all. Again, the more downloads, the more exposure, and the greater your chances are of securing your spot in the New & Noteworthy section.
Helpful tip: Don’t ask everyone at once! You generally want to spread your activity over a few weeks to ensure that it is constant and doesn’t just drop off after the initial launch activity has subsided. Therefore, we suggest you divide your “helpers” into 2 or 3 groups and ask each group at a different point of time. This will generate a consistent flow of activity which will put more eyes on your show for a longer period of time.
6. Ask for reviews and ratings
Reviews and rating are a great way to get more recognition. These allow potential subscribers to see what others have said about your show, and gives them some extra motivation to subscribe. If others are enjoying it there must be something exciting for them to see as well. Think of it this way, more people are going to want to subscribe if they feel like they are missing out on something new and amazing.
So go ahead, ask your friends and family for some more support. You can also reach out to your fans on social media to help generate some strong testimonials and reviews for your podcast. You can also personally send out emails asking people to rate and review. Be sure to send them the direct link in order to make it much easier to do, without too much effort on their end.
Another important source not to forget are the guests, if you have them, who are featured on your podcast. This is a great way to gather several reviews, and if you are chatting with highly visible individuals then it is even more critical to capitalize on. Their testimonials will draw attention from a much larger audience, which can be very beneficial in these initial stages of your podcast launch. Finally, treat this as a call to action. People are much more inclined to do this for you if you are actively calling them to take action. So Tweet it out, post it over your social media accounts, and really engage your fans to take the actionable step.
7. Show your thanks and appreciation
So after all is said and done, don’t forget to thank your followers! Without them you wouldn’t have made it to the New & Noteworthy section. After all, their downloads are what got you there in the first place. We recommend you go with the philosophy that, “The more you are grateful for what you have, the more you will have to be grateful for” – Zig Ziglar.
Therefore we recommend that you send out those personalized thank you emails, write that thank you post, and really make your fans and new subscribers feel appreciated. Your sincere thanks will mean a lot to them, and they are more likely to tell others about your podcast as well. Another way to do this is to reply to their comments, thank them for their reviews, and even ask for their input on ways to improve the show. This will give you instant feedback on how to create an even better podcast episode, which in turn can lead to more subscribers.
So don’t forget to show your appreciation. You won’t regret it!
Now over to you!
Were these tips helpful in your pursuit toward the New & Noteworthy section? How were you able to achieve New & Noteworthy status?