I’ve launched quite a few podcasts in my time, and I’ve talked with many, many people who have launched their own.
Through all that experience, I can say for sure that N&N is not the be all and end all. It might not even have much of an effect at all.
To be clear first, let’s define ‘got in to N&N’. When I saw that, I mean the podcast in question got into the top 10 of their main category as a minimum. That means they were visible in the N&N double row at the top of the relevant category page. Everyone within their first 8 weeks will be ‘in’ N&N, but that might be 200 shows down the entire list. When podcasters talk about getting into N&N, we really mean those super-visible top 2 rows that you can see in this image.
I’ve launched podcasts which got into N&N on the front page of the entire iTunes store. That’s huge – thousands and thousands of people every day will see that part of the page as they open up the app store.
I’ve launched shows that reached N&N within their own category only. So, that’s visible, but to a much smaller number that browse to that category.
And, I’ve launched shows that didn’t do either. They were only visible if you opened up the full N&N listing for a particular category and scrolled down.
The funny thing? There’s often not much difference in terms of listener figures between all three.
A Little Case Study
For example, one week I experienced recently really demonstrated this. So, one week a show that I produce got on the front page of the iTunes store. As I mentioned above, that’s huge – massive visibility. That same week, I also had a show that was in the top 10 of their main category. Again, pretty good, but much less traffic and visibility than the front page of N&N. The difference in download numbers, when we looked at our listener stats? Very little.
These were both shows with good cover art, good topics, good names – nothing really to separate them. But even with that front page visibility, download numbers didn’t move much for that show. The other show was very similar.
This tells me that, on average, N&N is NOT how people find and subscribe to Podcasts. I have to say, I’ve never subscribed to a show that way. I go through search, looking for a really defined topic.
That makes sense to me – the categories are really, really broad. What are the chances you’ll find something that hits your particular interest in the top 10 of a broad category?
Your Launch Approach
When it comes to launch, don’t worry too much about N&N, I honestly don’t think it makes much of a difference. Worry about creating great content, using a sustainable process which keeps you consistent. Hit both of them, and you’ll start to grow a fanatical fanbase who’ll be much more effective at growing your podcast long-term.
For iTunes, the big thing to concentrate on is ranking highly for your topic search terms, and that’s all down to downloads and reviews, as I’ve stated above.
And the best thing about that? It’s the same way you’ll get into new and noteworthy, anyway, so you might well cover all the bases in any case!
Alrighty, now that’s out of the way, let’s look at a launch plan which will start to drive those downloads and reviews.