The Success of Your Podcast Downloads Depends on These Two Things

The success of your podcast's downloads is largely dependent on two things.

“This week’s episode got a lot of downloads. It must be a good show. Let's do all our episodes just like that one.”

I challenge you to think about that statement – and see for yourself that it isn’t true.

Why? Because there is no way for someone to know if it’s a good episode until after they've heard it – and they can't hear the episode until after they download or stream it.

There are two things that typically drive podcast episode downloads – and the quality of this week’s show has nothing to do with it.

Hear me out…

Good download numbers are usually the result of these two things:

great content or great podcast title

1: They’ve heard your show before and really liked it

A listener heard a previous episode and is coming back for more. This is a big win – and one you want to replicate. The more great content you deliver, the more likely they will hit the “Play” button on your next episode.

The good news is you delivered great content before and will likely do it again. The bad news is that you have to get people to try your show first before they will ever add you to their favorites or subscribe to the show.

Luckily, there is another reason to help get more ears to hear your show:

2: You wrote a really compelling episode title

Within 6-12 hours, Joe Saul-Sehy knows if he wrote a great headline for a release of Stacking Benjamins. It seems more people, usually non-subscribers, will tap on an episode with “How to…” or “Top 5 Ways…” titles than anything else.

Episode titles can sway his downloads by 10-25%. The sad fact is the episode could be the best of the year, but a poorly written title will bury it behind a sub-par episode with a fantastic title.

The good news is that writing great titles can be easy once you know how to write good copy, but some people take it to an extreme. It’s almost like those click-bait blogpost titles or Tweets that draw you in but don’t deliver within the article.

The takeaway:

When you get a large number of downloads, look to see if the previous episode’s title was interesting, engaging, and made you want to click “Play”. If so, keep writing great titles.

But what is more important than titles is to create great content. Don’t rely on good episode titles to make your show a success – the content MUST be there or you are just a little boy crying “Wolf”.

Question: What are some great episode titles you’ve clicked on that left you kinda “meh”?

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