The leading podcast apps are all fighting to get new noteworthy podcasts into the spotlight, including Apple Podcasts.
A podcasting platform is only as valuable as its returning users. By attracting podcast listeners' attention and keeping them engaged as returning listeners, podcast platforms can receive recurring revenue. Spotify has taken most of its workforce to grab new shows and acquire podcast agencies and production houses, like Parcast and Gimlet, while pushing podcast playlists on their platform. On the other hand, Apple Podcasts has chosen a more indirect route by highlighting creators and individual podcasts via their front discovery page.
IN THE APPLE PODCASTS SPOTLIGHT
On this front page, Apple focuses on curated themed shows alongside curated collections and featured shows and providers. Each category and section promote unique voices on the monthly theme. From June’s Pride month to February’s Black History month – Apple has consistently promoted shows on the top of the page that follow the themes that follow their art, submission, and other guidelines.
Alongside this section are the curated playlists on Apple, grouping certain podcasts together.
Subjects such as language learning, Curated mysteries, and the like are put together to encourage specific searches into a more streamlined section.
Another example of how Apple promotes specific podcasts is the ‘Featured Provider’ pages. ‘Featured Providers’ are high-level production houses that submit to be featured on Apple and have their own designated pages on the platform.
Companies like the New York Times and The Economist, as well as Comedy Central and other major household names, dominate these sections and are the most exclusive. However, there are two sections that the person building their audience from their home studio can dominate immediately, with the right plan in mind.
Independent and smaller podcasts have the potential to be promoted on the New and Noteworthy and Featured sections on Apple Podcasts.
These shows are hand-picked by Apple’s editors – podcasts that are submitted by actual podcasters and selected by actual editors – not just major companies like iHeartMedia. If you can master this form and get your content to pop out in front of the right eyes, you can kick your downloads into the stratosphere.
THE OLD FORM
Only a couple of months ago Apple Podcasts work was hidden amongst the FAQ section of Podcast Connect, their podcast portal.
This section was used for all general queries, including provider pages, RSS transfers, Submission issues, and other notifications to the podcast team at Apple. Among this myriad of options including the option to submit your podcast for promotion.
With this overly simplistic form, many authors and content creators often missed the podcast promotion option, and many others fell through the cracks with all the other queries they would receive.
THE NEW FORM
Found on Apple’s Airtable page, is Apple’s updated version of the promotion form. Now authors and content creators can tell Apple exactly what they are doing. New promotion sections have also been added.
These sections help elevate new voices and minorities that may need a bigger platform than may traditionally be available to them otherwise.
Other major changes introduced coinciding promotion and social media links so Apple can see who is trying to do a big push, and who may just be trying to get a couple of extra listens.
While both are fine, Apple’s new form allows more ease of use and also gives more information for the editors at Apple Podcasts to make more informed decisions.
WHAT TO TELL APPLE PODCASTs EDITORS
Now that you have the form and method to communicate with the Editors at Apple, what should you write to get approved and get your podcast growing like the big players?
While there are no perfect answers there are some major themes that you should try to remember when entering the information about your show that will give it the best chance of appearing in a featured list.
Here are some things we use that have led to many of our shows to be featured.
Don’t say things twice.
When you submit your podcast they already have the basic description of the show and the corresponding episodes. You don’t have to spell out what your show is about, but what is doing to be upgraded and enhanced in regards to what you are currently promoting.
Make an Image.
Apple editors care a ton about what appears above the fold on their podcast application. So make an image that fits exactly to their guidelines and grabs their attention. The #1 issue podcasts run into during submission and promotion is image related, don’t miss the front page because you didn’t size your .png right.
Find your Uniqueness.
At the end of the day, you are selling your show to Apple to grow its overall engagement. Which is why you need to tell them what isn’t written in the show notes. Are you two “totally rad gals” who talk about life in Nebraska? Then tell them what you talk about that makes your audience go wild. Talk about topics you cover, like business coaching, and sell them the engagement and praise people give the show. A great place to find this information is in your reviews found on the bottom of your podcast page.
Be a Major Minority.
Apple loves and accepts people of a variety of lifestyles and perspectives. Tell them who you are and be proud of it, optimism and openness beat hiding it in your audio. If you are a minority or an underserved voice in any way, make sure to tell them, because they won’t take the time to know otherwise.
Tie things together
More coverage is better than less. Apple wants you to share their links and advertise for them. This is why the more detailed marketing and promotion plan you have prepared, the more likely you are to get featured. Get your sponsors, advertisers, friends, family, and audience’s social information and tell them just how big your bang is going to be when your podcast hits the top of the ‘Browse’ page.
Rinse and Repeat
More than likely your first submission to get your podcast featured is going to result in a ‘thank you but no thank you’. Don’t be disappointed. Your podcast is going for a long term strategy, which is why you should regularly be submitting your show to the editors to show them you are making something more than just a flash in the pan. Submit your podcast as often as you can.
THE BEST PODCASTS
The best podcasts are the ones that continue growing at a steady rate, and the featured podcasts are often the ones that have high potential to engage new people that they might not usually have the chance to otherwise.
So if you want your podcast to become a significant show, continue to dive deeper, give more, and turn ears with the expertise in your world and continue growing by knowing who you are talking to what they need to hear.