5 Essential Steps to Build a Highly Ranked and Popular Podcast

Five proven ways to generate interest, attract listeners, and create podcast content that keeps them coming back.

Building a podcast these days means facing some serious competition. If you want to dominate your market, you will need to learn to stand out in your category. The question is how do you generate interest to build listeners and create content that keeps them coming back? The following five tips will help you navigate through the process of growing your podcast and finding success.


1. Nail your concept and hook

You can do everything right when setting up your podcast and still fall flat if you don’t have a concept that engages your audience. Your concept and your hook are two different things and you need to nail them both. Your concept refers to what your podcast will be about, meaning what are you planning to talk about? Your hook is more targeted. What will keep listeners coming back?

To answer these questions, you’ll need to know about your audience. Are you an expert in fishing, giving tips to new fishermen? Or are you targeting an audience who already knows how to fish, and you plan to explore deeper concepts? If you know who your audience is for the concept you plan to work with, you can create the perfect hook to keep them listening. In simple terms, you need to decide who you are creating a podcast for and think about what they might be interested in hearing.

Once you’ve got an idea of what your concept and hook are, you’ll want to check out the competition. The goal here is not to copy a successful podcast but to learn what makes the podcast work and apply it to your own work, then implement it in your own unique way. Ask yourself, as you listen, what works and what doesn’t. Read the comments and see what their listeners think.

When you are done with your research, sit down and see if you can describe your podcast in ten words that distinguish it from everything else. This will force you to be clear and specific and give you a guide to refer to when you need to be sure you are on track.


2. Create a cover package

Take some time to scroll through some podcasts on various platforms and notice how the visual representation they have chosen catches your eye. People will judge a book by its cover and your cover needs to catch the attention of potential listeners. As such, you should choose an image that speaks to your target audience and to you. Make sure you don’t scrimp on quality. It would be an error to underestimate the power of a visually impressive, high-resolution graphic.

Photo: Arsenii, YFS Magazine, Adobe Stock
Photo: Arsenii, YFS Magazine


3. Launch with the right categories

Labeling your podcast with the right categories will make a huge difference in bringing your work to the attention of your target audience. It could mean the difference between ranking in the top 50 or not ranking at all.  Nailing this will help you build authority as a podcaster and improve your exposure to new potential listeners.  In addition, you should make sure you choose the maximum number of categories allowed for more coverage and visibility.


4. Generate new listeners

Your podcast is nothing without listeners, so you want to bring them in as quickly as possible. Luckily, there are a number of ways to do this, including doing giveaways, guesting on other podcasts, cross promotions with influencers and brands, and working with podcast directories to get exposure.

Some podcast directories such as Stitcher, Castbox, Apple Podcasts, and Amazon Music will take pitches from podcasters and will feature shows that they deem worthy, so it’s worth researching which ones will do this and how to send them your pitch.


5. Retain listeners

You need a solid base of listeners for your podcast to be worthwhile. This is where your content really shines because it is the reason people tune in in the first place. However, there are other things to think about when talking about listener retention.

Consider the length of your podcast and what’s in it for them. You don’t want listeners to go away halfway through an episode and forget to come back if it’s two hours long nor do you want them to completely skip the episode because they simply do feel that it’s worth their precious time.

Each episode needs to share content a listener finds interesting and valuable, and needs to get to the good stuff quickly, with over 2 million podcasts available today they have a lot of other options to choose from.

A good rule of thumb is the 30:3 rule, in the first 30 seconds, a listener should know what the podcast is about & why they should stick around and within 3 minutes they should get into the content.

Luis R. Diaz is the CEO of Top 10 Podcasts, a company conceived for and dedicated to helping podcast owners build their listeners. The author of, How to Get Your First 100,000 Downloads in 100 Days, Diaz has worked with numerous clients from a wide variety of industries. His client list includes thought leaders, entrepreneurs, Olympic medalists, NFL athletes, and venture capitalists. For more information about building a podcast, check out Luis’ website: Top10podcasts.com.


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