Every podcaster wants BIG podcast download numbers. I mean, we hear about amazing accomplishments when it comes to downloads – like Mark Maron’s episode with President Obama, or the most recent episode of Dan Carlin’s “Hardcore History” that got 1 million downloads in 24 hours – and let’s admit it. We’re a bit jealous. OK, not a bit. A LOT jealous.

But podcast download numbers are not all created equal.

When you hear about a show like Hardcore History that accomplishes such an amazing and impressive number of downloads, you need to know that there are facts about the show, the way the downloads happen, and the behind-the-scenes stuff that you don’t know about – that make it IMPOSSIBLE to legitimately compare your show to that show. On this episode I’m walking through some of those very real issue so that YOU won’t be so discouraged when your numbers are nowhere even CLOSE to that. In fact, there’s a lot of reason for you to be very ENCOURAGED. 🙂

So HOW SHOULD you think about downloads?

What really IS a good number of downloads to expect from your normal, niche specific, podcast – a podcast like yours? For the answer to that I reached out to a colleague of mine, Rob Walch who’s one of the outstanding folks over at Libsyn – the big-dog media host in the podcasting space – and as Rob is wont to do, he pulled out the stats to give me the real picture of what are truly good numbers of downloads and what podcast download stats we shouldn’t even be paying attention to. I think you’re going to hear something from what Rob shares that is first of all – unbelievable – but secondly, very encouraging. Really. It is.

But, the download numbers are NOT what really matters!

I KNOW, I KNOW, Facebook and other social media platforms have us ADDICTED to knowing how many people are liking or tweeting or listening to or reading our stuff. For that reason those kind of numbers are rightly referred to as VANITY metrics because they make us feel good more than anything else. Download stats can become the same sort of self-encouragement.

And that’s not ALWAYS a bad thing.

But there are OTHER things that the numbers tell us that are MUCH more important than the simple fact of what the number is. It’s what the download numbers represent to a podcaster (like you) who truly cares about his/her audience, who is trying to add maximum value to the people who listen to their podcast. I’ve got an example from my past to help you get a handle on how you should look at your podcast download numbers that I think will help. You can hear it on this episode of Podcastification. Come on, it’s a short episode – what do you have to lose?

Outline of this episode

  • [1:18] The allure of high download stats and why they can’t be trusted.
  • [1:54] The things about huge downloads you need to understand.
  • [4:05] What ARE good podcast download numbers?
  • [6:08] Looking at the numbers the RIGHT way.


resources we talked about in this episode

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