Manipulating The Apple Podcasts Charts

I feel like James Cridland of Podnews is my co-host on Build A Big Podcast right now. Just this week, I’ve used statistics from his newsletter to talk about How Podcasters Can Win Over Hardcore Radio Listeners and his research on how people are (trying to) manipulate Apple Podcasts’ charts was helpful in my episode, Yes, Podcast Charts Can Be Rigged.

Yes, the charts on Apple Podcasts can be manipulated. I know this because I’ve seen their music charts, which are based on the same system, manipulated dozens of times.

People are always looking for shortcuts to the top of sales/downloads charts, not just Apple, but Amazon, Billboard, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and any other chart. And James just shared an interesting job posting about how one guy is attempting to do it on Apple Podcasts…

Am I the only one who doesn’t see the big deal about this? Yes, it’s a curiosity. Yes, it’s manipulative. But it’s also pretty ingenious. And the basis behind what this guy is asking people to do could certainly be used to legitimately get your podcast in front of new people.

As far as whether it works to move a podcast up the charts on Apple Podcasts, I don’t know. It could work. And it could work to expose the podcast being added to hundreds of new people who use various devices on display at The Apple Store.

But will it work to get listeners who will continue to listen? That depends on how good the podcast being “promoted” is.

Without knowing anything about “Darren H.” or his podcast, even if what he’s asking people to do affects the charts or gets more exposure for him, if he doesn’t have the basic foundations of great audio, solid hosting, and compelling content, any chart movement or exposure won’t mean a thing in the long run. This is why most people are better off working on hosting skills and content than trying to figure out shortcuts.

When you build a great podcast, you don’t need to manipulate (or try to manipulate) podcast charts like this.

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