What You Need to Know About Getting into the Podcast Charts

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For many podcasters, getting into the podcast charts is an exciting achievement.

And why shouldn’t it be?

You’ve slogged long and hard to produce and market your stellar content and seeing it sit in a podcast chart is a big deal!

But, there are two major points that need to be considered when it comes to ranking your show in the podcast charts:

  1. Is it the right goal for your show?
  2. Is getting in the charts worth it for you in the long run?

These might seem like odd questions that have you shouting at your screen, ‘Yes! Who wouldn’t want a charting podcast!?’ But, there could well be a sound reason as to why getting into the podcast charts just isn’t the right goal for you or your show. And we’re going to unpick these reasons in this post.

The importance of ranking in the podcast charts

Chart rankings can have a significant impact on the visibility and growth of your podcast.

I say ‘can’ because depending on the category your podcast sits in, could be way more competitive to chart than others.

While it’s possible to rank in podcasting charts with relatively low download numbers, the categories in which your podcast is listed play an important role in determining its rankings. Some podcasting charts are more saturated than others, and niche subcategories may offer easier ranking opportunities compared to broader categories.

It’s worth noting that chart rankings can vary by country. The US, for example, has the largest cohort of podcast listeners, making its charts more competitive. However, don’t be discouraged if you have a small show with a dedicated audience – even those podcasts can rank in the charts.

How the podcast charts work

Understanding how podcast charts work is crucial to determining their value.

The podcast charts are essentially rankings that showcase the most popular and trending shows based on various metrics. Each podcast platform, such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts, has its own algorithm to determine chart rankings.

These algorithms typically consider factors like the number of new downloads. But, it’s important to note that chart positions are dynamic and can change rapidly based on the performance of other shows.

While being on the podcast charts can bring attention to your show, it’s important to remember that the rankings are not the sole indicator of success.

A high position on the charts doesn’t necessarily guarantee a loyal audience or long-term success. It’s crucial to focus on creating quality content and building a strong connection with your listeners.

Benefits of being in the podcast charts

Being in the podcast charts can offer several benefits to podcast hosts.

One of the primary advantages is increased visibility. When your show ranks high on the charts, it becomes more visible to potential listeners who are browsing through the platform. This increased visibility can lead to a significant boost in downloads and subscriber numbers as more people discover and tune into your show.

Another benefit of being in the charts is the enhanced credibility it brings. Chart rankings serve as social proof of your show’s popularity and quality. People are more likely to trust and try out a podcast that is already performing well and gaining recognition.

Being in the podcast charts could also open up doors for collaborations and sponsorships. Other podcast hosts, industry experts, or brands may take notice of your show’s success and reach out to discuss potential partnership opportunities. These collaborations can help you reach new audiences and further establish your credibility within your niche.

Earning a spot in the charts can present monetisation opportunities for your podcast too.

As your podcast gains popularity, you may attract advertisers who want to sponsor your episodes or place ads within your show. This can generate a new stream of income and support the growth and sustainability of your podcast.

How to get in podcast charts

Getting in the podcast charts requires a strategic approach and consistent effort. And if you’re expecting some super secret way to guarantee you get into the charts, then I’m afraid that I’m not going to give it to you.

But, here are the things that I’ve done that have seen both of my podcasts chart in various charts across various platforms:

1. Produce high-quality content

Sounds like a no-brainer (and like a broken record), but focusing on creating valuable and engaging episodes that resonate with your target audience will draw people in and make them stick around.

Quality content really is the foundation for attracting and retaining listeners.

2. Encourage subscriptions and reviews

Whilst subscriptions and reviews rarely (if at all) impact on your ability to chart, reviews can serve as social proof for a potential listener who might be dithering to check your show out.

Ask your listeners to subscribe to your show and leave reviews, perhaps in your podcast outro as a final call to action.

Like I said, reviews don’t directly impact on chart rankings, but, the social proof could help bring in new listeners. Plus, the feedback will help you make your show even better!

3. Promote your podcast

This should hopefully be a no-brainer, but your podcast won’t promote itself. And without promotion, no-one will know about your show and therefore won’t listen to it.

Utilise social media platforms, your website, and other marketing channels to promote your podcast. The more exposure your show gets, the higher the chances of gaining new listeners and increasing your chart rankings.

4. Engage with your audience

Find out where your audience hangs out and engage with them. Providing value to a conversation goes a long way. And you can build genuine connections and friendships along the way.

Foster a strong connection with your listeners by interacting with them through comments, social media, or dedicated email newsletters.

5. Leverage cross-promotion

Collaborating with other podcast hosts in your niche to cross-promote each other’s shows can help you to tap into their audience and attract new listeners.

You could also do intro swaps with other podcasts, guest blog, or anything else you can think of to get your podcast in front of more people.

Common misconceptions about podcast charts

There are several common misconceptions surrounding podcast chart rankings. It’s important to debunk these myths to have a realistic perspective:

1. Charts equal success

While chart rankings can be a sign of success, they don’t guarantee long-term success or a loyal audience.

I honestly think that focusing on building a strong connection with your listeners and creating quality content is more important than chart rankings.

2. Chart manipulation

Some podcasters may resort to unethical practices to manipulate their chart rankings (more on this later in the post!).

However, this can lead to penalties and a loss of credibility. To me, it’s best to focus on organic growth and building an authentic audience.

3. The podcast charts are the only indicator of popularity

Chart rankings are just one aspect of measuring popularity.

Engaged listeners, positive feedback, and community interaction are equally important indicators of a successful podcast.

And as I’ve already said, a show that doesn’t rank isn’t necessarily unpopular. It could be that your podcast is in a super-populated and therefore competitive niche.

4. Chart positions are permanent

Chart positions are dynamic and can change rapidly based on the performance of other shows.

Don’t be discouraged if your show fluctuates in the rankings. Focus on consistently improving and engaging with your audience.

Strategies for promoting your podcast to increase chart rankings

There’s no hard and fast strategy to get your podcast in the charts much beyond getting a lot of people to listen to your show.

But, there are things that you can do to draw listeners in:

1. Optimise your podcast metadata

Make sure your podcast title, description, and episode titles include relevant keywords that can help improve discoverability on search engines and podcast platforms.

Yes, podcast SEO is a thing and can really go a long way with just a little bit of research and effort.

2. Leverage social media

Utilise social media platforms to promote your podcast, engage with your audience, and share valuable content.

Create visually appealing graphics, teaser clips, and behind-the-scenes content to generate interest and drive downloads.

You don’t have to be on every single social media platform and posting 24/7. Find the platform or platforms that you like to show up on and create a content schedule that suits you.

3. Ask for reviews and ratings

Whilst reviews and ratings don’t directly impact chart rankings, they can serve as good social proof to draw new listeners in.

Encourage your listeners to leave reviews and ratings on podcast platforms. Positive reviews can help boost your chart rankings and attract new listeners.

4. Creating quality content

I really cannot stress this enough, but without quality content, no one will want to listen to your show.

Quality content will differ from listener to listener. But, figure out what it is that your listeners want from you show and create awesome episodes that speak to these wants and needs.

The pros and cons of ranking in the podcast charts

Higher chart rankings can provide extra exposure and attract new listeners to your podcast. This increased visibility can be incredibly valuable for podcasters looking to expand their audience. However, it’s important to note that not all listeners find podcasts through charts. Therefore, chart rankings aren’t the only method for acquiring new listeners.

Moreover, attempting to manipulate podcast charts is considered unethical and can damage your podcast’s reputation. There have been instances where chart manipulation occurred through dubious methods such as offering prizes for listeners who provide proof of listening on multiple devices or using listener farms. Ultimately, the risks outweigh the potential benefits.

Clarifying different podcast chart rankings

When discussing podcast rankings, it’s essential to clarify whether someone is referring to Chartable or Apple Podcasts (or in fact, any other podcast directory).

When people talk about the podcast charts, 9/10 they’re talking about the Apple Podcast charts.

Why?

Well, because Apple Podcasts is still the number 1 podcast directory that listeners use to listen to their favourite shows.

However, most other podcasting directories (i.e. Spotify, Goodpods, Amazon Music, etc), will also run their own charts.

The difficulty is that your podcast needs to be on these directories in order to be considered for their charts. This is the same with the Chartable podcast charts. To get into the Chartable charts, your podcast needs to be registered with Chartable.

So, whilst in my opinion, getting in any podcast chart is awesome; remember that the charting goals for most podcasters is the Apple Podcast charts simply because it’s the biggest listener directory.

The importance of defining your podcast goals

Before we wind up this post, I want to touch on the fact that you don’t have to have getting into the podcast charts as one of your podcasting goals if you don’t want to, or it doesn’t align with your overall podcasting strategy.

For example, if you’ve got a very niche audience, attempting to get into the charts might be pointless because by getting enough listeners to chart means that you’re talking to the wrong audience.

So, it’s important to define your goals for your podcast. Consider your target audience and determine why you want to reach them. Depending on your podcast’s purpose, aiming for chart rankings may not be necessary or beneficial.

But if achieving chart rankings aligns with your goals, it’s crucial to develop a strategy to make it happen. Because without a clear plan, it’s unlikely to happen just like that.

Conclusion

While podcast chart rankings can provide extra exposure and attract new listeners, they are not the sole determinant of a podcast’s success.

Focus on defining your goals, engaging with your audience, and creating valuable content. Remember, chart manipulation unfortunately does happen, but is unethical and not worth the potential damage to your podcast’s reputation.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Reach out to us on Instagram and Twitter, and let us know if podcast chart rankings matter to you. Share your experiences and any strategies you have for achieving higher rankings. And don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast on your preferred directory for more valuable podcasting tips.

Verity Sangan

Verity Sangan

Hey there! I'm Verity, Registered Nurse turned Podcast Host, Launch Strategist, and Coach. I love all things podcasting and am passionate about getting more women find their voice through podcasts. Host: The Lazy Girl's Guide to Podcasting & The Confident CEO Podcast

About Me

Verity Sangan

Hi! I’m Verity; host of The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Podcasting. I’m a mum of 2, a Harry Potter nerd, Star Wars geek, and spend my days lecturing in health and social care, or talking about podcasting. Read more >>

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