Listener Experience is the Best Metric

July 30, 2020  •  Creating Content

If you choose to invest your time into creating a podcast, you will certainly expect to see results.  One of the surest ways to get noticed is to increase your show’s rankings on the various podcast platforms.

However, your existing audience is interested in your content, not the ranking algorithms.

How can you boost your podcast’s visibility without sacrificing the personal connection your audience values most?

Anticipation or Disappointment

Let’s pretend you’re talking to a peer about your current struggle to focus on your work. Your friend suggests this new productivity podcast she’s seen on social media—we suggest Focus on This—that you might find helpful. You download the first episode, devour the content, and go to listen to episode two only to find that there isn’t one.

(Psst…Focus on This has seasons worth of episodes to help you in your pursuit of productivity.)

How would you feel? Disappointed? Frustrated? Of course, you would! Now imagine if this new podcast had launched with three episodes ready to go. You’d be hooked, and the momentum would almost certainly help you wait for each subsequent episode.

Prioritize User Experience

The audience comes first. You should make choices based on what makes your content better for your users. That’s true whether you’re publishing a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel. In the scenario above, the decision to launch with 3+ episodes is a win-win because you’re also helping your podcast rank well online.

iTunes rankings are the definitive leaderboard, and they’re based on a combination of downloads, subscribers, and reviews in a short period of time. The algorithm looks something like this:

            # of new subscribers + downloads + ratings/reviews = higher rankings

That’s how most algorithms are designed today, to optimize the user experience and promote content that keeps people on each platform for a longer period of time.

It’s easy to get caught up in chasing the algorithm, but you can actually beat the algorithm best by focusing on user experience and serving your audience well.

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Here are three steps towards finding the right time and format to engage your audience:

  1. Close your eyes and imagine someone in your audience, waking up at the start of the day.
  2. Mentally walk through how they start their day, what they do, and where they go next. Where do you and your content fit in?
  3. Identify one way you could make your content more accessible or enjoyable to consume.

If you put your audience first, the algorithm will take care of itself. For example, you could deliver your weekly newsletter at the same time each week, based on when your target audience is most likely thinking about the topic you cover. Or, you could create a new guide that’s interactive, so your audience can put your ideas into practice and activate change in their lives. Or perhaps you could launch a new podcast in the morning so your audience can listen while they commute to work or work out at the gym.

Regardless, look for opportunities to optimize your content for your subscribers and you’re bound to succeed.

About John Meese

John Meese is the author of the #1 bestseller Survive and Thrive: How to Build a Profitable Business in Any Economy (Including This One). An entrepreneur himself, John is on a mission to eradicate generational poverty by equipping entrepreneurs with the tools and training they need to build thriving businesses from scratch. He is the founder of Cowork Columbia, co-founder of Notable, and regularly publishes interviews and insight at