How do you define podcast success? Many attribute it to the number of plays and downloads. Some refer to their number of social media shares. But without a definitive guide, you can easily get confused on what to look after. Read Your Classic Guide to Podcast Success, and understand which areas to focus in your podcast.

What is podcast success?

Before you get any farther in this article, it’s critical to identify what success means to you. Is it all about receiving a lot of traffic? There are basically two key players in your show: you and your listeners.

You have a symbiotic relationship that flourishes under the right conditions. Listeners turn to you for information, entertainment, inspiration, or anything else they have in mind. On your part, you thrive to give them just that.

Without listeners, your podcast becomes an aimless bird in the sky. You keep on flying until you grow weary, and just land anywhere that’s convenient. In the process, you miss great opportunities to grow.

Without you, listeners have nothing to spend time and effort on. They don’t get the same level of entertainment or inspiration.

This is why it’s important to know which areas in your show work and which don’t. They serve as guides to understand how you can strengthen that special bond. This is success—a healthy, long-standing relationship between podcaster and listener.

What are the areas for growth?

  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Distribution

Communication Metrics

Every podcast has a variety of listeners according to age, social status, gender, race, and overall background. They could be influencers in your circle, or your next door neighbor. And, you’ll never know who they are unless you reach out to them.

Establishing a relationship requires knowing the significant other. It may sound cliche, but it’s the first step you need to take. You want to know about the listeners’ interests and background to have a clear understanding of what they look forward to in your show.

For this, you can check your podcast stats to see where they are listening from most of the time. You can also check the number of plays and downloads for each episode as well as the amount of time they spend in your site. You want to know about these to determine what suits them best.

Your podcast is a great venue to attract loyal supporters, which can include: clients, influencers, and affiliates. Instead of explicitly marketing your brand, you can personalize your approach to make them feel comfortable around you. You want them to open freely and willingly share what they can.

Here’s a list of questions you can ask to assess your performance:
  • How many ideal clients, influencers, and affiliates have you reached? Are you staying in touch with them?
  • What are the geographical locations of your listeners? Are you hitting the right place?
  • Were you able to close any deals? If yes, which ones? How many?
  • How much traffic and profit are you receiving from the relationships you’ve established?
  • What opportunities do you have from connecting with them?

Communication is vital to any relationship. How well you connect will reflect in your achievements. Check to see if you’ve hit your goals.

Whether your show is set to entertain, to inform, or to inspire—whatever your podcast is about—you want people to adhere to your brand. And, you can do that by providing room for communication. Help your listeners identify with your goals and vision.

Leadership Metrics

Is your podcast in the lead? In essence, your podcast serves as a channel of your brand’s message. You have ideas that people can use and adhere to.

Once you have established strong relationships, it’ll be easy for other people to find you. Listeners and search engines pick on your lead, and boost your rank when they find you in the lead for quality ideas and increased number of followers. It’s what we refer to as thought leadership.

“Thought leadership is not about being known. It is about being known for making a difference.”

Consider Wikipedia. It often ranks first in the search engines when you search for a particular word, personality, etc. Many people turn to the articles in Wikipedia as reference whenever necessary. They are credible enough with citations and list of contributors.

Similarly, you want your podcast to be a go-to show for your ideal market. You don’t want to be left in the field playing small. You want your reach to extend to more listeners, and content is your key to achieve this.

Here’s a list of questions you can ask to assess your performance:
  • Which episodes have the most number of plays and downloads?
  • What good qualities do your best episodes have? What made the other episodes rank low?
  • Is your content consistent to your brand?
  • Is your podcast consistent in terms of format and schedule?
  • Can your listeners easily access your show regardless of device?
  • How many inbound links are you receiving?
  • What is your rank in the podcast hosts you publish to? Where do you rank in the search engines?

An increased number of loyal listeners and rank indicate your skill in being a thought leader. You want to be found for the ideas you share.

Quality content motivates people to revisit your show. Their response tells a lot about their individual perceptions and feel when they visit you. User experience matter, so it’s best to check if you can cater to the demands from any device and situation—especially true to those who decide to publish via blogging platforms.

Distribution Metrics

When you maintain healthy, long-term relationships through quality content, you position your podcast as a reliable base of ideas. You can expand to more networks when you open more doors for others to know you. Ever heard about the waterfall strategy?

Your Classic Guide to Podcast Success

From a steady stream, water falls off an edge to create “a massive impact on the water below.” As it falls, it hits rocks and other parts of the landscape. Afterwards, it exits to openings nearby. And, the cycle continues.

Similarly, you can extend and expand your reach by diversifying your distribution. You can take any content or episode you have, and share them to social media and other channels. There are lots of opportunities outside of Blubrry, iTunes, and other podcast hosts.

You can repurpose your ideas into blog posts, social media graphics, quotation images, videos, Quora answers, and so much more. The point is to distribute your brand to as much channels as you can. Give way for more listeners to know you.

Here’s a list of questions you can ask to assess your performance:
  • How many listeners do you currently have? Did they increase in number?
  • From which podcast host are you most popular?
  • How many followers do you have on social media?
  • From which networks do you generate the most number of shares, likes, and clicks?
  • What are your listeners’ ratings and reviews? How did they receive your show?
  • Have your show been featured elsewhere? Are your clients, affiliates, and influencers featuring you on their blogs, shows, etc. programs?
  • Have you had guesting opportunities? If yes, how did it affect your show?
  • Are there adaptations inspired by your podcast?

Nothing is impossible if you try. You can never say no to a good opportunity unless it conflicts your more important agenda. The internet is a vast, open sky where you simply have to fly.

Be on the lookout, and check your performance from time to time. You can use link shorteners, such as Bitly and, to shorten your links and track the number clicks from your content shares. This way it’s easy for you to identify which channel you perform best as well as which episode or content share has the highest engagement activity.

Because Podcast Success Doesn’t Happen Overnight…

Whether you’re new to podcasting or not, you need to be dedicated enough to maintain your show. Think about this: in the US alone, there are only 40% of active podcasts (2015 data). According to Josh Morgan, a typical podcast only runs for 6 months.

There are lots of good strategies available, and are wide open especially to those who are well aware of their needs. You can create relationships, lead a number of listeners, and distribute to various channels, but without consistency and credibility you could miss out on great opportunities.

Come up with ways for listeners to know and trust you. Help them to be more familiar with your brand. Keep them engaged through quality content, just like what Jaime Jay does in his Stop Riding the Pine podcast.

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” -Colin Powell

What steps have you taken so far? Have you been missing good opportunities? Be more aware, and take your podcast to the next level!

What do you think about Your Classic Guide to Podcast Success? Leave a comment or suggestion below. We love hearing from you!  

If you need help in your podcast editing and show notes, Podcast Pilot is available for you! Feel free to contact us at, or register for a free consultation or a paid coaching service. Podcast Pilot is your podcast buddy—reach out and get the solution you need!


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