024: What is Apple Podcasts New & Noteworthy?

If you’ve been around podcasting or you’re considering starting your own podcast, then you may have heard of Apple Podcast’s New & Noteworthy category. I’m going to break down what it is, how to get in it, and if you should even care.

Okay, so let me give you a little bit of background just to make sure that we are on the same page. When you start a podcast, you host your podcast in one area and then you distribute it to a variety of different distributors. One of those distributors is likely going to be the beast, Apple Podcast, okay? Apple Podcast is a really big distributor and really gets a lot of people to new shows. So Apple Podcast is one you’re definitely going to want to be distributing with. 

If you are distributing with Apple Podcast, the way that you get into a distributor is by submitting your show from your hosting channel usually into the distributor. Well, Apple might take anywhere from like, I don’t know, a few hours sometimes, sometimes a couple of days, lately for our shows that we’ve been producing, it’s been a few days, one day, three days, or maybe four days. Then it can take up to a week’s time, but regardless, whenever your show is approved by iTunes, that is like day one of you being new to Apple Podcast.

Now for New & Noteworthy, for that timeframe, it’s eight weeks as of right now. It’s an eight week timeframe that your show is considered new. Now, if your show is also noteworthy, meaning it’s a really great show, it’s had a lot of downloads or subscribers or reviews and ratings and things like that, then iTunes says or Apple Podcast says, “Hey, we think that this show is actually gaining a lot of traction. It must be pretty good. Let’s show it to the rest of our audience.” 

There’s a special place in iTunes and Apple Podcast that will actually show New & Noteworthy podcasts. So these are podcasts that have been around for within that eight week period that are gaining some traction that appear to be really good.

So if your show becomes New & Noteworthy, then it has access to be seen by many other people. So it’s kind of like Apple’s way of promoting your show, but also of getting really great content into the hands of their listeners, right? 

So New & Noteworthy has historically been a very coveted thing. In fact, years ago when I first started my podcast in 2015, there were certain strategies and tricks you could do and there still are today of how you can get your show into New & Noteworthy. And of course my show did get into New & Noteworthy because I followed all of the rules, but then the New & Noteworthy opportunity kind of disappeared. Apple redid how they’re doing their algorithms stuff. As you know, anytime you are distributing your content to someone else, you got to play by their rules. So they had changed the rules.

Then all of a sudden, a lot of the new shows that were coming out weren’t able to get into New & Noteworthy for a variety of different reasons. Well, it’s back for now, but it could change. 

What we know is that there are certain things that Apple Podcast loves about their shows that are being distributed through their network. I mean I cover those things with you today because I believe that as you are able to increase those things, Apple will love it. So it brings people back to their platform. That’s what they’re really after. So then they’re going to in return honor your show. 

Okay, so what are those things? 

Well, the first thing is subscribers, and subscribers, you can’t really track your subscribers right now through podcasts. That’s one of the frustrating things about the podcast stats, that they’re not really able to be on track right now.

But your subscribers are important to Apple because they want people to keep coming back to their app and to be able to consume a variety of podcasts through their distribution. So you want to encourage your listeners and your followers and your people on your email list, your audience, you want to encourage them to subscribe through their podcasting app, okay? iTunes is going to love that or Apple Podcast is going to love that. They recently changed the name so I’m kind of using both of those names, iTunes and Apple Podcast interchangeably right now. 

Subscribers are very, very important.

Okay, the second thing is your subscribers will lead to more downloads. 

So when somebody subscribes to a podcast, if it’s in their settings, they can always change their settings in their podcasts app. But usually when they subscribe, they will automatically download your show. So that helps you, the more downloads you get, the better because that is really how you’re tracking your podcasts and how you’re knowing the performance and the success of it. So the more downloads the better, okay. So when you get people to subscribe, click the subscribe button on the Apple Podcast app, now all of a sudden they’re going to be able to download more and more of your episodes, okay? So subscribers are really important.

The second thing that I would highly encourage is your ratings. Now five star ratings are what you’re going after. So the rating system in Apple Podcast is five stars. Now somebody could leave one star, they could leave three stars, they could … But we’re after the five star ratings because that’s going to tell Apple that you’ve got a really good show because people are rating it with five stars and they’re doing it rather quickly, like as soon as your show comes out and all of a sudden you’re getting these ratings, that’s a good sign to Apple Podcasts, right? So five star ratings.

The last thing is positive reviews. So on Apple, you can actually click the five stars and you don’t have to leave a review, but you want your subscribers to leave a review, okay? 

So encourage them to actually leave an honest five star rating and a positive review, okay? 

That’s how I say it to my, I was going to say clients, but I meant listeners or fans and audience and in my emails, I say, “Please subscribe to my show and leave an honest five star rating and positive review,” because those are the three things that we’re tracking here, okay.

Now let’s discuss whether or not you should even care about New & Noteworthy. 

Now the podcast that I did in 2015 was a niche podcasts, which meant the market was very small of who was going to actually listen to this. So that just subsequently meant that my downloads were a lot smaller than something that’s super broad. People that are listening to news stations, they’re going to have probably a lot more downloads or business, those types of categories are going to have a lot more downloads. Mine was a very pointed thing. It was in pageantry, okay? Win a Pageant podcast. So it was a very tight niche. So when I first launched it I had to be very smart about the categories that I chose for that podcast, okay. Because Apple Podcast, the way that it works is when you first launch your show, you choose a main category and it’s there’s lots of different categories.

So let’s just say that there’s one category is performing arts and then within performing arts there’s theater and music and this is like sub categories, right? So you’re not going to choose performing arts music if your show has nothing to do with that, okay? But for performing arts music, there might be New & Noteworthy categories in that specific thing, right? So you’re going to want to choose something that’s specific to you and specific to your show, but you also want to choose wisely. You want to choose something that’s very specific because if you’re just choosing business and marketing or something very broad and you’re not niching down into something, then you’re going to be competing with a lot more people, all right? 

All of that to say the categories that I chose for mine were very strategic, okay? So that’s thing number one.

We do that for all of our clients. We actually will choose categories that we think are definitely still related. It has to be related to the show, okay? Or iTunes will get mad if you’re just finding crazy things and so will your listeners if they’re like, “What is this? This isn’t the music category. It has nothing to do with music.” Right? So that is something you want to pay attention to, but also you can get strategic of how you find it, okay.

So then the next thing is is that for my show, because of the fact that it was so niche whenever it was in New & Noteworthy, it still didn’t attract a gigantic audience because it was such a niche thing that if it was posted in New & Noteworthy, it’s not like I was going to get like a billion downloads like in a day, right? But because the downloads were small, it was easy to track on that download data. 

When I was in New & Noteworthy, I can tell based on my statistics what I was tracking, my downloads went up drastically, probably like three or four times what I had been getting in my launch period. So in month one I’m getting like … Week one I’m getting like a few downloads, week two, week three and then all of a sudden in week four on a certain day I’m getting like boom, hundreds of downloads in one day, right? It’s because of the fact that I was in New & Noteworthy.

Now at the end of that launch period, in those eight weeks, then you no longer have the opportunity to be in New & Noteworthy. They have other categories to promote shows that have been around for a while. But that New & Noteworthy is really valuable because anybody can get in there with even a small amount of downloads, right? Those three stats: 

How many downloads you get, your ratings and your reviews. 

Okay, so now, I don’t really care as much. 

Because what I found in the second show that I launched most recently, I did the same type of thing. I chose my categories very wisely. I was able to get in New & Noteworthy. This is this show, They’re Going to Love You. I was able to get in New & Noteworthy.

But as you can imagine, it doesn’t move the needle that much in your real business. So many people are really trying to get into New & Noteworthy. They’re like, “Oh, New & Noteworthy, it’s so important.” 

It’s really not. It’s really not that important. 

It does get a few other viewers to listen to your show. It may have a financial impact if you’re doing it for business, it may have a financial impact in the end, but it’s more about the consistency. Your show is going to gain a lot more traction after that first eight week period than it is in the first eight week period because there’s just not that much … You’re still really in your launch period. The cumulative impact that your show will have after that eight week period is what you really should be focusing on during your launch period.

So for my clients, we do not make New & Noteworthy a major goal. We don’t put so much effort into that. Even though I do tell my clients how to get there and I do choose their categories wisely because I want them to be found and I want them to be seen as a really great podcast in their category. 

But we don’t put so much effort into New & Noteworthy that we forget the real point of their show, which is 

connecting with your audience and really allowing you to have a voice and to share the topics that are so interesting to you with your audience and getting them to achieve their goals. 

Okay, that’s the real goal of your show. Connecting with your audience, getting them to know you, like you and trust you and see what you have to offer so that eventually they will become a client.

Not all of that is going to be able to happen in the first eight weeks of your show. Okay, so that is a little bit about New & Noteworthy and my personal opinion, I will not stress out over it. 

If you don’t get into new noteworthy, the number one, don’t stress. It’s no big deal. That does not mean that you have a bad show, okay? 

Keep going. Keep going, keep going. 

Because you will find your audience and they’re gonna love you.