How would you like your podcast to be featured in Apple’s “Podcasts” app?

It could be. Maybe. Possibly.

Of course the powers that be at the big fruit-endowed building in Cupertino, California are not about to let common mortals like you and me know exactly how they go about determining which shows are featured in their inbred… I mean, native podcast app.

But did you know… DID YOU KNOW that they do in fact tell us how we can increase the chances of our showS being featured there?

Really… I found everything I’m about to tell you on one of their LONG, SMALL-PRINT, IMAGELESS web pages. (https://www.apple.com/itunes/podcasts/specs.html)

But to save you the endless scrolling and the fine print – yes, it is VERY fine print on those Apple webpages…

[tweetthis]I’m going to give U the skinny on how 2 get UR #podcast featured on #Apple’s “Podcasts” app[/tweetthis]

How to get your show featured in Apple’s “Podcasts” app

Everything I’m about to cover has to do with the information and items you provide to Apple when you submit your podcast. The good news is that if you’ve already submitted your podcast, you can always go back and update it.

Yes, you can. So if you hear something in the following tips that you think will enhance your podcast listing, get to it!

Here we go!

1 Produce compelling, new, or unusual content

Compelling: evoking interest, attention, or admiration in a powerfully irresistible way.

In other words, your show has to be interesting. So don’t put together a ho-hum, run-of-the-mill podcast and then hold your breath waiting for it to show up in the features section of the Podcasts app.

You’ll pass out before it shows up.

Here’s a great example of something compelling, new, or unusual. Granted, it’s produced by a Public Radio station with a staff, and budget, and other stuff you may not have. But maybe instead of viewing those as obstacles, you could look at them as opportunities for you to get creative and excel in new ways.

Anything’s possible… Take my situation as an example:

Just over two years ago I was a full-time employee. Now I’m a self-employed podcast producer, entrepreneur, and author.

I’d never have dreamed it could be so.

But let’s get back to your podcast and the Podcasts app…

2 Attractive, original cover art

You’ve probably heard this mentioned before but it is worth repeating.

Think about it… what gets YOUR attention when you’re scrolling through the iTunes store looking for a new podcast?

COVER ART!

The ones that have a boring, generic headshot, or text so small you couldn’t read it with a microscope simply get skipped over.

It’s not intentional. Nobody’s prejudiced against those podcasters.

[tweetthis]There’s simply no eye-candy, no bling, no make-me-check-this-out #podcastgraphics 2 lure you in.[/tweetthis]

podcastificationAnd when it comes to what Apple considers “attractive and original” cover art (which IS what matters in this case), they are not shy to tell us…

  • Does not include any words or images depicting any kind of Apple-branded content. That means no pictures of ipods, iphones, Apple logos, etc.
  • Must be at least 1400 X 1400 pixels (your graphic designer friend can help you out if you don’t know what a pixel is)
  • Must be either JPG or PNG format (again, ask your designer friend)
  • Must be created in the RGB color space (You do have a graphic designer friend, don’t you?)
  • No pixelation (Hello! Graphic artist friend?)
  • No images or language that could be construed as racist, misogynist, or homophobic. You can publish it… but don’t expect it to be featured.
  • No images depicting sex, violence, gore, illegal drugs, or hate themes. Again, do it if you want, but don’t expect Apple to show you off.
  • Cannot contain any third-party trademarks without authorization or usage rights. How will Apple know if you have the rights? I don’t know. I’d suggest you simply refrain from using the image.

I can’t claim my cover art is anything super special – but it’s more than a plain image or MSpaint DIY image. I’m counting on the color scheme and the unique spin on the word “podcast” to catch the eye of a specific niche audience (podcasters).

You’ll have to let me know what you think of it in the comments (http://www.PodcastFastTrack.com/podcastsapp)

3 A robust and accurate written description of your podcast

Robust… wow, that sounds like a description of BBQ sauce to me, not a podcast!

Let me attempt to translate that for you…

  • More than a one-line description. Tell people what they’re going to hear on your show. Tell them in a way that lures them in, makes them want to listen.
  • Fill your description with APPROPRIATE keywords. And did I say “appropriate?” Don’t stuff it full of keywords one after another like in the old days of very bad SEO. The Apple bots are smarter than that. But you SHOULD fill it with a description that naturally uses keywords that fit your show. Remember, the description is one factor that iTunes and the Podcasts app uses to pull up results when someone does a keyword search.
  • Accurate – the keyword part is one aspect of the “accurate” bit, but you also want to be honest about what your show is and what it isn’t. Don’t describe your show as “deeply introspective” if it’s business news and analysis. Don’t call it “psychologically stimulating” if it’s your latest rants about your favorite video game. Be honest. Make your description tell EXACTLY what your show is, and nothing more.
  • MY TIP: Include a URL to your website or landing page. Or include an EMAIL address (I’d recommend you disguise it from the spambots somehow – i.e. carey AT podcastfasttrack DOT com). You might even include a phone number if you’re that kind of business. Believe it or not, people use iTunes as a search engine for more than just podcasts. You want to make it easy for them to find everything “you” on the internet.
4 A clear and complete author listing

Time manSimply put, fill out the author field on your podcast. Fill it out accurately. Fill it out completely. Put more than just your name. In fact, you can even do something like this:

Carey Green | Podcast Producer | Entrepreneur | Life & Business Coach | Author

But again – be honest. Don’t say you’re a “Time Magazine Person of the Year” if you’re not.

[tweetthis]Don’t lie about your #podcast. People will know. #Apple will know.[/tweetthis] 5 Proper tags regarding language, category, and explicit language or content

  • Language

If your show is an English-language show… pick the Spanish option.

JUST KIDDING! Obviously, list your show in the language it’s really in.

  • Category

You actually get to pick up to 3 categories for your podcast.

MY TIP: Use all three! Even if they are subcategories of a main category, use them. It gives you more chances of being found by people who are searching within that category.

And don’t list your show in categories that don’t apply to your show.

BONUS TIP: DO NOT pick the “podcast” category UNLESS your show is ABOUT podcasting (like this one).

  • Explicit language or content

There is a lot of debate out there about what is considered explicit and what is not when it comes to iTunes. I get to that. We’ll get into that more on the next episode (www.PodcastFastTrack.com/explicittag)

But for what we’re talking about here, that’s not the issue. The point HERE is that you want the people searching the iTunes directory to get an accurate view of your show.

You also need to know this: For the sake of parents who set the “parental controls” on their devices, your show needs to be listed correctly when it comes to this “explicit” tag.

If somebody’s kid downloads your F-bomb-laced show because it wasn’t filtered (because you didn’t label it “explicit”), you not only just offended that parent. You just made someone angry at you… your show… your brand – everything.

Apple has been known to boot shows from their directory that have improperly labeled the “explicit” tag.

Don’t do that to yourself.

[tweetthis]Label your show properly when it comes to the #explicittag.[/tweetthis]

RELATED NOTE: The “explicit” tag option you get when submitting your show is for the OVERALL description of your show. If you’re going to have a clean show most of the time, and maybe now and then a guest will unexpectedly drop one or two curse words, DON’T label your show explicit.

There’s a way to label individual episodes explicit (or not) when you publish them. I’m going to cover that via the two most popular avenues in the next episode (episode 13).

6 New episodes being posted regularly

THINK consistency on this one.

It doesn’t matter if it’s once a week or once a month. The key word here is “regularly.”

If Apple’s going to feature you, they want to know that you are committed to giving your audience content on a consistent basis.

My personal experience tells me that if you’re launching a brand new show, having 3 or more episodes already “live” when you submit to iTunes for the first time communicates the same message.

So again, the message is – good content, consistently delivered.

7 No references to illegal drugs, profanity, or violence in the title, description, or cover art

So no swear words, drug terms, or aggressive verbiage in your titles, descriptions, or on your cover art.

AGAIN, you can do it if you want to – but it’s a sure-fire way to get Apple to IGNORE your content when it comes to being featured.

That’s it – 7 tips to get your show featured on the Apple Podcasts app.

And if those sound strangely like the same things Apple suggests in order to get your show featured in their “New and Noteworthy” section of the iTunes store… it’s because they are the same things.

Apple’s “Podcasts” app pulls its info directly from the iTunes store and uses the same criteria as New and Noteworthy. My gut feel is that there’s more than just an algorithm involved (real-live Apple minions are at work in there someplace too), so do your best to hit every one of those tips – and you’ll dramatically improve the chances of your show being featured in Apple’s “Podcasts” app.

 

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