When we were launching the WordPress Photography Podcast, we knew we wanted the podcast to get some attention in iTunes right away. We did have a goal for myself, and we met that goal very quickly and then we exceeded that goal two times over, which in turn made me change my goal. And I’ve met the new goal once. We’re hoping to do that a little bit stronger and a little bit better with more notability.
What we wanted to do, and what my first goal was, was to make the New and Noteworthy section for the main category that my new podcast is in, being Arts or Visual Arts, one of the other. It turns out that within the first couple weeks we made it to three categories in the New and Noteworthy section. That includes Arts, Visual Arts, and Technology. Now we have since added the Business category because the podcast also talks about business. We haven’t made New and Noteworthy there because now the podcast is no longer new. We should have added the Business category originally. That was one mistake that we made.
Side note: Make sure you choose the correct categories right away and don’t add later otherwise this whole idea of what we’re about to tell you won’t work.
We made New and Noteworthy in the three categories that we started with, and this is great. It got us a lot of subscribers. Within the first month, we had thirteen reviews. Twelve were five stars, and one was four and a half stars or four stars, whatever iTunes allows you to do. The podcast is getting great feedback. We’re getting questions come in from listeners. Every time we publish a new episode, it gets about two hundred listens right away, within the first twenty-four hours or so.
Right now we’re about seven hundred subscribers. We can’t say that for sure. We are using the Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin that’s for WordPress to drive the podcast. We’re using an add-on called Seriously Simple Podcasting Stats to get the stats about the podcast. Because we’re not using a trackable MP3 aside from the plugin that’s tracking it, We are not getting an actual subscriber count. But we did add that plugin for tracking, so we get a general idea. We do have YouTube; we have video and audio and then text as well for every episode. We do have the Google analytics of the page views for each episode and the YouTube analytics about each episode from the video side of things. The general best guesstimate that we can do is that we get two hundred people that listen to the first twenty-four hours and then roughly seven hundred subscribers. We also have email subscribers as well, on top of that. That is not as many. Most people who subscribe to podcasts don’t subscribe via email. We just added that so we could build up our email list.
We did a bunch of research ahead of time, but we don’t have any valid references that we can share. We just took what we learned from a lot of Google searching and put it into fruition, and it turned out to work well. This is how we got to New and Noteworthy right away.
First, when you’re preparing your podcast you want to make sure you have four or five episodes done. Already done, ready to publish on your websites to then go to iTunes. Then you also want at least one or two for publishing once it’s ready on iTunes. That way, once it’s actually on iTunes, you can then hit publish on the next episode and then with the next schedule of time you can then hit publish again. Originally we were doing weekly, but we have since moved to every other week. In fact, every other Thursday we publish a new episode. We do this to give ourselves a little bit of a break from recording once or twice a week to get new episodes for the following week.
We initially published the four out of the five episodes. We published four because we ran out of time before the deadline that we gave to ourselves. We published those, got them on the website, submitted the RRS feed to iTunes. Within a couple of days, it was on iTunes. We then published the next episode, episode number five, and right away within a week, we made New and Noteworthy in the three categories. That means on the front page of that category we were right there with our beautiful icon. People can then click through.
Side note: You want your icon to stand out from the rest. You want it to look different from the rest and if you’re a person, an individual you want your face on the icon. If you’re, a company or you’re doing just a general organization you want something brandable to yourself on the icon.
We included the Imagely logo so that it stands out from the rest. It’s a black square with the Imagely logo which has multiple shades of green, and a light gray circle in it as well. Then, of course, it says the WordPress Photography Podcast. That grabs attention right away.
This is a WordPress podcast; it’s not for profit. We’re doing it to educate our audience, which is photographers. We are putting out all this great content completely free, no sponsors, no nothing. Yes, Imagely comes up as it is our podcast, but we’re also talking about our competition, and in positive ways. We’re not talking about them negatively, and we’re not trashing them or anything. That’s why we’re calling it the WordPress Photography Podcast. We’re going along with the WordPress principles of community and open source and freedom and things like that.
We made New and Noteworthy immediately in those three categories, so it was great. We also had a bunch of people who already listened to the episode and were ready to add their reviews as soon as it was an iTunes. The moment it hit iTunes, we sent the link to those who were ready to leave reviews, which we believe were about six people. They left their reviews, and that is what drove Apple, or their algorithm at least, over the edge to feature the podcast in New and Noteworthy. It’s new because the podcast was brand new and it was noteworthy because it’s a new podcast that just had six, five-star reviews within hours of the podcast going live on iTunes. Then eventually it hit twelve, and a month later, we think right at the beginning of the second month we got the thirteenth.
Now, the next thing, the next goal. Because we already accomplished the New and Noteworthy goal, the next goal was actual to make it to top podcasts of any of the categories we’re in. We’re happy to say by month two or three we made the top two hundred, actually one hundred and eighty-one last we checked, in the technology category which is fantastic. We could probably do even better once we get more reviews. Looking in the Top Podcast section, you can see that all of the podcasts that are there have well over three hundred reviews. We would need a lot of reviews to get higher up on that list.
You want to make sure your podcast is being subscribed to.The only way to know for sure is using something like Lisbyn or similar services that have tracking for you built in, that you can tell how many people are subscribing. That would be great but we’re not using that, we wanted to do minimal tracking for our listeners. Having those reviews is what’s going to get you there as well as having episodes that keep going and going and going. You don’t want to stop. If you stop, Apple’s going to see it and then you’ll probably drop off the rankings. Make sure you’re consistent.
Every other Thursday, Apple knows to look at our feed and share the new podcast episode that’s new in the feed. It’s going to be looking at the reviews, so hopefully we will get more reviews. We might do a little call to action with the next episodes to leave a review.
One other thing that we’re doing, we’re doing now with listeners is engagement via Q&A. Every ten episodes myself and my co-host, Rachel, we’re doing a Q&A. We’re having our listeners send in their questions, and we are going to answer them in the episode. We’re answering questions from people who listen to the show. Doing that will also help get reviews. Doing that will also get you noticed.
Now the final goal that we have for the podcast, which will probably be my goal by the end of the year, is to be featured in like “Best Of” for the year. Hopefully Best Of for 2016 in Arts, Photography, Visual Arts, Technology and Business. In turn, we will make it to the home page of the iTunes podcast section as well.
Those were my three goals for the podcast. Fortunately, we met two already, although I’d like to see the second goal of hitting top podcast go up numbers.
The big takeaway here is, make sure your icon stands out, so people see it. Make sure you have four or five episodes already recorded before you submit your podcast to iTunes. Have one or two episodes ready to go after it’s on iTunes, and then have people ready to leave their five-star reviews right away.