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How to Get Your Podcast to Number One in Apple’s Chart

On today’s episode of the Engaging Marketeer, I want to talk about podcasts. More specifically, how you actually get a podcast to number one in Apple’s charts. The reason I mention this is because when this podcast launched in April 2022, it went to number one in Apple’s marketing chart on the weekend of release.

I got into a bit of an argument on LinkedIn recently, as I tend to actually do on a regular basis, because somebody who works in helping to promote other people’s podcasts put a post up about how they’d helped their clients get to number one in their category, which I think was the pets and healthcare, pets and animal care – something like that, I don’t know what the specific subcategory was, but it’s quite a niche category. They put this post on saying how they got it to number one in that category when it was released. Somebody replied to that who is a self-proclaimed podcasting guru with 20 years of podcasting experience, even though podcasting hasn’t actually existed for that long, saying how much did you spend on ads to get it that high, to which the guy replied saying it was all natural organic social, and this guy came back and said that’s nonsense, that’s not possible, it cannot happen that you can get it like that.

I thought I’d wade in here, because I’ve done it with the Engaging Marketeer. Then the guy laid into me! He said that he would leave me to my delusion about getting number one, that I was essentially either lying that I didn’t do it, or I’d paid somebody else to do it and didn’t do my due diligence on how they were going to do it and they’d use paid media. He refused to accept that it was, in fact, possible because he hadn’t done it. No matter how many times I tried to explain that I’ve literally done it myself, he would not accept it.

It’s one of those things where you project your own inabilities onto other people; this happens all the time if you’re trying to learn how to start a business, or learning how to do podcasting or digital marketing. They say you can’t do something because they can’t do it themselves and they want to make excuses for their own inabilities in not being able to do it. Since I have literally done it, now I’m gonna tell you how I did it, and how you can get your own podcast to number one in a specific chart in Apple.

Now, the category that we got to number one in was the marketing category. The way the charts work on Apple isn’t like the way music charts work, or the way number one rankings in tennis or snooker work, but they all work off the same sort of principle: the more you get in a period of time, the better it does. So, for example, in snooker, they used to update the rankings every year just after the world championships, which meant from when the world rankings began up until around 2014, there’d only been about seven number ones in snooker, which is ridiculous to think of. Now, the music charts are updated every week, so whoever has the most sales throughout the week by the point the charts are made is the number one for the whole of the following week.

Apple music is very, very different with podcasts. The chart on podcasts fluctuates completely throughout the day, so you can have a number 10 ranking at 12 noon and then, by three o’clock, you could be number one. This is because it moves on a cycle. I’m not going to give the specific hours for how this works, but we’re talking roughly about a four-hour window here. So all you need to do is to get all of your activity, and I’m going to tell you exactly what activity you need in a moment, in a specific time frame.

Now, in order to move the needle on the charts, you need to get a large number of people to download your podcast. But it has to be new subscribers. New subscribers are what moves the needle. So, for example, if you’ve got 10 subscribers and they all download one podcast, that’s not really going to do anything for you. If you’ve got 10 new subscribers and they all download one podcast episode, that’s 10 downloads. However, if you’ve got 10 podcasts and you get 10 new subscribers, and they all download all 10 podcasts, that’s 100 downloads. You can see how this can mount up.

Now, I’m going to give you the exact numbers because I’ve got it in front of me on the screen here. April 22nd is when the podcast downloaded and we got number one in the marketing category on Apple on April 22nd, with 522 episode downloads. We launched the podcast with 10 episodes – that is literally 53 people to download 522 episodes. 53 people was all that was needed. Now, if you happen to have friends and family, that’s at least 15/20 people right there. If you happen to have clients or contacts on LinkedIn or Facebook, that’s a load more. If you’ve got a news list, you can send your podcast out to, that’s a load more. To get 522 downloads in, you just need 53 people to download all 10 episodes each (and one of them didn’t download them all). However, the important thing is it has to be in a specific time frame.

Now say, for example, you’ve got 520 downloads over the course of a week, then split that between seven days, split between 24 hours a day, that’s not really going to do anything for you. You need all of those downloads in a specific two-hour or three-hour window, which is why we cut we correlated everything to happen at noon when the podcast launched. So, as soon as the podcast went live, everything was mailed out to all of the subscribers on the news list, everything went out to social media, we had a competition running that went live at that exact point. Everybody needed to do it on that day in order to be able to enter, hence why we had 522 downloads in the space of a few hours that got the number one ranking in the marketing category. It’s not that difficult at all.

Now, this example that was on LinkedIn. This person that posted this about their client and how they got them the number one ranking in the pet care category, their client who ran that podcast was Lorraine Kelly. She’s got thousands and thousands of subscribers on Twitter, she could have got that number one ranking with one tweet, that’s all it would have taken to get the number one ranking. Yet, still this podcast guru comes on and tells me ‘it’s not going to work at work, you can’t do that, I’m going to leave you to your own delusion, there’s no way you can get that number one ranking, I’ve been in podcasting for 20 years, I know how podcasts work, I know how everything works, I know how Apple’s algorithm works ,that’s rubbish, you must have paid for traffic, you’re lying’. What an absolute p***k. He’s arguing something he couldn’t possibly know. He’s telling me that no there’s no way you could have done that, and I know for a fact I’ve done it, because I did it. I didn’t use somebody else for it, I didn’t outsource it, I did it. I’ve got the screenshots to prove it. In fact, you can go back and check the charts to see that it was. It’s not that difficult.

So, the point of this slight little rant is, firstly, don’t listen to gurus on LinkedIn who think they know everything when in fact they are absolute d*******s who know nothing. Also, if you want to get a number one ranking for a podcast in a specific category on Apple, it’s actually not that difficult. You just need to make sure that you time all of your activity so that your subscribers hit at the same point and they download all of the episodes. So if you get 50 subscribers downloading 10 episodes each within a two/three-hour window, you are going to get a number one ranking in most of the subcategories within Apple. We got into the top 25 in the business category – that’s one of the biggest categories on Apple, and we did that with just 53 people downloading 10 episodes each. It’s not that difficult.

Now, if you want any help with your podcasting, I’m going to pop a link below this podcast for a good friend of mine who helped me launch that podcast and came up with this strategy himself. His name’s Kane, he’s awesome, and he runs regular webinars on how you can actually do this for yourself, and how you can grow your podcast if you have one already or how you can set one up if you don’t have one already. So follow the link below this podcast, have a look at what Kane says, sign up to his webinar – it’s free to go on – and he’ll show you how you can do this as well. I will catch you on the next podcast foreign

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