Why I Don’t Care About New & Noteworthy + What I Care About Instead

Okay, full disclosure. Today’s episode is going to be a little of a hot take. It’s going to be a little bit directly in contradiction of maybe other experts you’ve heard from talk about podcasting, specifically launching your podcast. In case you didn’t read the title before this played, and yes I know you just looked down to see what the title was as I said that, because I would do it too. We are going to be talking about New and Noteworthy, which by the way is exclusive to Apple Podcasts. This is not a universal podcast thing. And oh, by the way, Apple Podcasts is not the only way to listen to podcasts. More on that later

A big school of thought when I launched my show nearly seven years ago, was that New and Noteworthy was make or break.

You had to, had to, hit New and Noteworthy in the first eight weeks of your show being out or you might as well just give up. Because no one was ever going to listen to it. So, guess what? I made New and Noteworthy. I did. And guess what? It did absolutely nothing for my show long term. Now there was a small bump in listeners. There was the excitement of having achieved something that I had been told was so important. It did not directly relate to revenue. It did not impact any substantial long-term growth in my show. It was just a cool thing that happened. And I’ve now been a part of launching or producing, we’ve been part of dozens of podcasts at this point. And we’ve had shows that hit New and Noteworthy. We have had shows that did not hit New and Noteworthy, and guess what? Those shows are equally successful. And those businesses are thriving. Regardless of the status of New and Noteworthy having ever been something they achieved.

And so I don’t actually care about New and Noteworthy. And I want to talk about why that is by being really clear about what it is. As I mentioned briefly, New and Noteworthy is a podcast feature, podcasts chart really, inside of Apple Podcasts. Also known as iTunes or whatever else you want to call it. By the way, it is not called iTunes. It’s called Apple Podcasts. I know a lot of us call it iTunes, it’s not called, it’s Apple Podcasts. My nerd is sure going to show deep today, guys like whew. So, New and Noteworthy is on Apple Podcasts. It is a chart system. And as far as how shows are ranked on that chart, or for how long shows can appear on that chart, there is a lot of, let’s just say myth. That’s a lot of talk. There’s a lot of theory, but there’s no direct clear markers for how to get on that list.

There’s also not actually any clarity around how often it changes. I have been on and off that list three or four times in a day. It’s cuckoo bananas. It’s like the Facebook algorithm. You have a lot of people making guesses, albeit educated guesses, they are guesses. And I want us to realize that when we set this as a goal. When we set this as a mile marker that must be hit by a show. We’re really asking a host to do the impossible. We’re asking someone to strive to get into a space, but we’re not going to tell them anything about it. We’re not going to tell them how to do it.

And oh, by the way, there’s also no real clear A delivers B. Meaning, there’s no obvious direct benefit to having actually been featured in New and Noteworthy.

Honestly, when’s the last time you checked New and Noteworthy? I’ll be honest, the last time I checked it was when I was going to pitch podcasts. That’s right. One of the things we are working on in the agency, one of the things I have done time and time again, is look for new shows to pitch, and guess for the first place I always stop is? New and Noteworthy. Guess when the only time I ever go to New and Noteworthy is? To look to pitch podcasts. Like that’s it. It’s not where I’m going to find shows. And so think about that when your setting that as your marker for success.

There’s also no real targeting. You can do it by category. Is New and Noteworthy based on each category? That’s the only New and Noteworthy I really get excited about because, then we’re New and Noteworthy to people looking for the kind of show we talk about at least. But that’s it. There’s no way to say that the people who find the show that way are your audience or your customers. And so when you’re developing a show, that specific goal is to bring you business. This is why in the Launch Your Podcast training, we start with who do you want listening to the show? It’s why we spend so much time talking about who we want listening to the show, is because that’s how this whole thing works. That’s how this whole thing benefits us as a business practice, is if the right people are listening.

And without any real clear targeting or real clear demographics of who’s paying attention to New and Noteworthy, it’s got about as good of a chance as helping as you yelling on the street, “Hey, people really like me.” Actually you’re right, new and noteworthy is probably better than standing on the street screaming people really like me. But how much better? Really? Probably not much. Okay. So I don’t want this whole episode to be about how New and Noteworthy is evil, because guess what it is a really cool thing. It potentially means that enough people are downloading and reading and reviewing and sharing your show, that Apple thinks more people should probably do that too. And that’s really awesome, because it means that maybe the people who you want listening are engaging and supporting and sharing enough that the show will find more people like them.

But New and Noteworthy, isn’t really the benefit of that. The benefit of that is that more people are interested. The people, the right people, are sharing, are rating, are reviewing, are listening. And that’s the metric I want you to pay attention to. Because so often we put all this weight in New and Noteworthy and we forget to think about what that actually potentially represents. And so take a step back. Take New Noteworthy off the table, and let’s look at five things to paying attention to and measuring instead.

So first and foremost, I’m always looking for a long-term sustainable growth.

So when I’m looking at the numbers, I want to know that we’re seeing better than we did before. On a monthly basis, by episode basis. But also I break down episodes to downloads the first day. Downloads in the first seven days. And then downloads in the first 30 days. That way I can see how well an episode did over the course of a month. And I’m looking for steady growth. When I compare all those day-one numbers, all those day-seven numbers, and all of those day-30 numbers, across my episodes. I’m also looking for how are we doing on a monthly basis? Because, very possibly, most definitely, there are people listening to episodes that didn’t come out in the last 30 days. Either because we’re sharing them all the time or they find them, or I don’t know, SEO works, right?

So, paying attention to those growth numbers and growth trends is much more important than looking at New and Noteworthy. Especially because this is something you’re going to want to be in for the long haul. We’re not looking to be, oh how exciting, we did eight episodes. We’re looking for, oh how exciting, we’ve done 400 episodes. And look at the growth over time. Slow, steady growth is substantially more important than fast growth and a plateau. Or worst, fast growth and a decline. So that’s what we’re looking for. Slow, steady, consistent, growth. Doesn’t mean you’re going to grow every month. There are times of the year where inexplicably a show just dips. I don’t know if it’s based on the audience or your content or the amount of time we’re marketing. It’s not the same across all shows, but every show we manage has one month, a year that’s just a little bit slower than any other time of the year. It’s very strange.

Number two, we’re looking for ratings and reviews.

I absolutely love the way my friend, Tara Newman of The Bold Leadership Revolution talks about this. She talks about reviews being podcast currency. If you appreciated what we shared in the episode, go and give us a rating and review, let us know that. And I love to use ratings and reviews as a really great way to measure how involved people are. And this is something that, I hate ebb and flow about being good about asking for these kinds of things. I’m always trying to make it really, really easy for our audience to leave reviews. That’s one of the reasons I set up ratethispodcast.com/more, because it’s a one-stop shop for leaving reviews across several channels. And it’s a really easy thing for me to rattle off. Whereas the URL for Apple Podcasts is not readily available to roll off my tongue and to be typed into your phone. And so make it really simple, but keep an eye on this. Pay attention. When are you reviews coming in, you’ll probably see it’s in a direct correlation to when you ask for them. I know whenever I make a good point of asking for reviews, I get a couple.

Also, just as a little nudge and reminder, if there are shows you love and enjoy and who have helped you, if you take action on something a podcaster says in an episode, and it works, share that. Leave the review. Because the thing we love most is hearing how this actually gets implemented. Otherwise we feel like we’re just sitting here talking to ourselves like crazy people, and that’s not fun.

Number three, watch your social shares.

That’s right. People actually sharing your episode. This is going to be hard because people don’t always tag you, but be paying attention to this. You can be using listening software, social listening software I should say, not bugging people’s houses. I actually have this set up in our social scheduling software called e-clincher. SproutSocial does this really well. There are a lot of tools that allow you to have some keywords that when they are used in social conversations, you get a little alert. So be paying attention to those shares. Be engaging with, thanking people for acknowledging, resharing, all of those things. Because that’s a really good way to see, especially during your launch, that people are into it. Now I’ll be honest. Social shares can be more hit or miss as you grow your show. But certainly when you’re in that launch window, certainly when you’re in that first eight weeks, which is generally when you would be in New and Noteworthy, social shares are important. Be asking for them. Be making it really easy to do it. Okay?

The fourth one, we talked a little bit about with social shares, but social engagement as well.

People who are actually commenting and damning you and, just generally engaging with the content you’re providing on social about the podcast. Maybe they’re sharing that they listened. My favorite is when I get DMs and people quote back parts of the show to me. It amuses me endlessly. I think it’s so fun. I especially like when it’s funny lines in no way related to my point. I don’t know why, that’s probably not helpful, but it’s my favorite. It’s the most entertaining for me. Notice, I didn’t say follower growth. Notice I didn’t say how many new people followed you on Instagram. I care more about the people connecting to you and talking to you. Those are going to be are people who are fastest to convert. Those are the people who are closest to making a purchase. That’s important. That’s good information to have. That’s good data to have.

The last thing is action taking.

So, if I said a link to leave a review, do they do that? If I said a link to sign up for a free challenge called Launch Your Podcast, which we kicked off live yesterday, maybe that’s what I’m looking for. See there? So intentionally I’m building in actions for you to take in this podcast, and one of the things we measure is how many of those actions are taken. How often are we actually seeing people move from the show to whatever other source. And we can do that through specialized links. We can do that through asking people how they came through. We can do that through marketing things in a pretty focused way, primarily on one channel versus another. Whatever the case may be. But I want you to be looking at what actions are actually being implemented. Again, these are the people who we want listening. These are the people who we want to see in our audience. Because, these are the people who are going to get results. These are the people who are going to invest. So look at where those are happening.

All five of those pieces are going to be more beneficial to your business than your podcast hitting New and Noteworthy. Just is.

Quick and dirty today. We did start day one of our live version of the Launch Your Podcast challenge yesterday. That does not mean it’s too late though. Sign up now. You’re going to be right there with us. Be sure you’re checking in at the Instagram Uncommonly More channel, because that’s where I will be doing some lives and some stories, really digging deeper and building further on the conversations we’re having inside of those trainings. I’m really, really stoked for this training program. I think you guys are really going to love it. I’m really excited that we were able to put it out completely for free. So head over to uncommonlymore.com/launchyourpodcast, and make sure you are going from idea to launch plan, because that’s literally what we’re doing over the next five days. All right. I will see you next week.

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