Recently, IMDB, a popular online movie database, announced that it would support podcast listings on its platform. This adds another space for podcast promotion, well as another space for listeners to leave reviews. Focusing on IMDB as a listener engagement and discovery space is a good way to view its appeal. However, getting your podcast on IMDB is not the easiest thing ever, so I’m here to walk you through the why and how of it. Let’s do this!
Why Might You Want Your Podcast in IMDB?
IMDB, Internet Movie Database, is a movie database. Well, it used to be. When writing this in January 2023, it also lists TV, music videos, podcast episodes and video games. Essentially, it’s turned into an entertainment search platform. This is great for you because listing your indy podcast there is free.
Many audio drama and fiction podcasters lobbied IMDB to list podcasts. A listing on the platform provides credibility and a discoverability boost. This is especially true for adding screenwriting credits to their bio. Having that credit next to their TV and other media screenwriting credits is super helpful in catching the eye of industry folks. It’s also great for voice actors who work in animation and games. Alternatively, if their podcast has a voice talent that gets cast in a high-profile show later, the link between their podcast and the high-profile show can be powerful for podcast discovery.
I tested a few title searches on the platform, and it appears they pull from all mediums when a user searches. I noticed a pattern that is useful for podcasters. Let me show you some examples.
Your Podcast Name Matters
Since IMDB opened up to podcast series listings, the first mover’s advantage is very high. This is especially true if someone is doing a title search with a word or phrase in your podcast name. For example, an IMDB user could go to the platform to look for a documentary on meditation and end up stumbling across your podcast.
Unfortunately, when I did a general search for just the word “meditation,” only one podcast series (highlighted in yellow below) showed up.
However, when I searched for “meditation for women”, a more specific search term, only podcast series came up. Many of them, as you can see in the yellow highlights below.
Popular Podcast Topics May Benefit the Most From Being on IMDB
Having your podcast in IMDB seems especially powerful if your podcast name is a topic that’s more common in podcasts than in the other mediums on IMDB. That’s not to say that you should only add your podcast to IMDB if this is true. But it is an advantage. Let’s be honest; clear podcast names are an excellent way to ensure listeners can find your podcast. And with AI tools like ChatGPT used even more in podcasting, this will likely only get more important.
Should Your Podcast Be On Podchaser or IMDB?
You may already have your podcast on Podchaser, a self-described IMDB of podcasts. So do you need to remove your podcast from Podchaser now and instead list it on IMDB? No. These two platforms serve very different audiences. And on Podchaser, listeners can listen to your episodes. IMDB lists the episodes without a play option.
In short, Podchaser is more for heavy podcast listeners, and IMDB is more for a general entertainment audience. Look at it like this. If you wrote a book, would you want it available at a bookstore, a grocery store, or both places? Two different groups of folks may find your book if you distribute it to both, right? And more distribution increases the chances of the right listener finding you. The same concept is true for your podcast. For maximum discoverability, list your podcast on both platforms.
How to Add Your Podcast to IMDB
This process is not super straightforward, but if you follow the steps below, your podcast will most likely be added to the IMDB platform soon.
Step 1: Search for or Create an IMDB Account
Search first to see if you have an IMDB account. If there isn’t one, then create one. Of course, simply sign in if you know that you already have an account. I accidentally created a duplicate account and am now backtracking because I didn’t remember having one. IMDB is easy to use for searches, but as a contributor, edits are nothing less than painful. So avoid them at all costs when possible.
Step 2: Fill Out the Adding a New Title Form
The instructions on the “Submitting podcasts, commercials or music videos” page are pretty confusing. I recommend starting on this “Adding a New Title” page instead. Complete all the information on the screen: “Title”, “Type” (most likely “podcast series”), “Status”, and “I am” (I am a director, I am a producer, etc.)
A Note About IMDB Categories and Terminology
Because IMDB is primarily a movie and TV database, the categories and such won’t always make sense for podcasts. An example is the “released and screened/available to the public (or firm date set in relatively near future)” option that many of you will pick for your podcasts. It’s also true for the “I am” drop box menu. As an indy podcaster, you could choose more than one option for the “I am” info. Don’t worry about this. Fill the form out the best you can and move on.
Step 3: Add Information Until the Yellow Highlights Disappear
If any information is needed after this initial step, the form will appear with the needed fields in yellow, like in the screenshot below of my Geopats Podcast submission.
In this case, I needed to add the date the podcast started. Once I added that info and hit the “check these updates” button, I got another round of edits needed.
Step 4: Add Explanations When Prompted
For parts of the form that don’t make sense for podcasts, it looks like their workaround with this is to add “explanations” in a few key places. You’ll see “provide explanation” a few times in the additional information required area. Just check this off and fill out the info as best you can.
Here’s an example of when I needed to check “provide explanation.”
And here’s the explanation I added. Most of the other explanations after this one were, “this is a podcast.” There were less than a handful of times when explanations were needed, but without them, your form will look like a banana. Click the box and add an explanation to move on.
Step 5: Submit the Form
After reading through so much tightly packed text in this submission form, I have to admit that it was a relief to see this contribution confirmation message.
Step 6: Wait for Approval
IMDB sends an email like the one below, confirming that the listing was submitted. It’s good to know that they do NOT notify you when the listing is approved. I thought there would be a follow-up email. There wasn’t. So if you’re curious, use that “track contribution” link in the email (bottom left) to check on things. Alternatively, you can search for your podcast name in a title search on the IMDB website daily until it’s there. My first podcast submission took under a week.
Step 7: Spice Up Your IMDB Profile
And while you’re waiting for your podcast listing to go live on IMDB, spend some time on your profile. Add a cover photo, a bio and any other information that would make your profile helpful for listeners.
If you have art that’s relevant and eye-catching, add it to the photo gallery. Boom, from Observer Pictures, makes good use of the photo gallery to introduce different episodes.
While you’re there, review a few movies or TV shows that are relevant to your topic area to boost your expert positioning. An example of a strong podcast IMDB profile is The Sandman podcast. This podcast is an Audible original, so their production budget is higher than ours, but we can still take some cues from what they’ve done.
They’ve got reviews, a video trailer, cover art photos and cast photos to start, as you can see in the above screenshot of their IMDB page. There are also Storyline, Did you know, and Related News sections. Other than the fancy video trailer, you can easily complete these other sections for your indy podcast. There are so few podcasts filling out this much information on IMDB right now that you’d be so far ahead of the game if you did this.
Plant Seeds Now for More Listeners Later
The good news is that you don’t have to do anything else to your podcast IMDB profile once your podcast is in IMDB, much like the podcast directories you’re familiar with. Having said that, you may want to add social media posts to your promotions plan for your IMDB profile, any reviews you get and so on. And as awareness of podcasts grows on IMDB, so will the likelihood that an IMDB user will find your podcast there and become a listener.
What Our Readers Think About Should you set up your podcast profile on IMDB?
What a process – certainly not designed for podcasts and I suspect many would give up in despair.
I just finished submitting! It’s a little dicey, getting through it. Took me 4 or 5 tries. Even though I’d saved an almost complete submission at one point, it somehow evaporated.
But I’m patient. The system lets you do it over. And as you do, you get clearer on what they’re seeking and how to present it.
I actually have 2 credits in IMDB for 2 bit parts I did a handful of years ago on 2 different shoots for friends. It was fun to se my own name pop up as an option in the credits submission section!
But they give you a way to tell them why you might not have any credits. And since it’s clear that we’re submitting podcasts, I feel like there won;t be any loss of ground there.
Far as I could tell, only 300~ish people chose “podcast” as an attribute. And I feel that IMDB probably draws the kinds of people who’d also enjoy a great podcast.
The platform will probably be a very useful search engine for us. And SEO bens too! Guess we’ll see. But I have a glowy feeling in my bowels that this was the correct move. 😉