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case study: how to rank in Apple Podcasts

Case Study: A Tested Strategy to Rank In Apple Podcasts

Today, on the Podcast Digest, we’re introducing another new series! (We know, another one! But we just have too many ideas not to chase them down! Back to the series…) This time, we’re launching into Case Studies! We love what you can learn from case studies! And we also love deep diving into the ins and out of the whole podcasting process. So, on this series, we’re going to be picking podcasters who have aced some aspect of the podcasting journey to see what we can learn from them. Or, we’re going to rabbit hole down some avenue of the podcasting process and how to be successful there, and we’ll share all we discover. The aim is that YOU can then onboard some of the strategies, or use them to adapt your current strategies to help you reach podcasting success. So, let’s dive into our first case study! How the incredible Steph Taylor was able to rank in Apple Podcasts in the Number 1 spot in the week of her podcast launch!

But first, a little more Case Study background and why we felt it an important project to tackle…

The podcasting space is a fascinating place. On the one hand, it’s exploding and expanding as a medium, with new shows joining the space, on what feels like a minute-by-minute basis. (Fun fact! At the time of this ‘going to print’ according to the Podcast Index, 353,592 episodes had been published in the last 30 days!)

(Information correct on day of publishing.)

But on the other hand, podcasting is still a medium in its infancy. There’s so much to learn. But, if we’re being honest. There’s also a lot of misinformation out there.

So, we figured we can put our years of podcasting experience and knowledge to effective use by diving into all kinds of podcasting topics and sharing the results of what we find. So that you can build your podcast on workable strategies and a factual foundation.

(We channel a little MythBusters on this post, if you’re looking to bust some of those pesky podcasting myths: The Truth About Some Common Podcasting Myths)

And so the Case Studies Series was born!

And first up, we’re tackling one of the most-Googled podcasting questions: How do I get my podcast to rank on Apple Podcasts?

Yes, there are a number of really great articles and resources on the topic. And for sure, you can and should read those! (The more you know, right?!) But for this case study, we’re going to dive into how one particular powerhouse podcaster was able to accomplish this impressive feat!

And that powerhouse podcaster is none-other than Steph Taylor!

But before we get into it, a disclaimer..


This is a case study of what worked for one podcaster. This does not necessarily mean this exact method will yield the same results for every podcaster. There will always be a number of outside factors and circumstances that can affect the success of any of the strategies we share here. (And there’s always that tricksy algorithm to consider!) 

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The aim of these case studies is to explore the methods other podcasters have found to be successful, to share what’s worked for them, so that you can tailor these to your own show and the factors within your control linked to your show.

NOW! Let’s get into it!

A We Edit Podcasts Case Study: A Strategy to Rank In Apple Podcasts featuring Steph Taylor

Steph Taylor case study strategy to rank in Apple Podcasts

First up, let’s talk a little about our featured podcaster, Steph Taylor. Steph is an incredible online business strategist who helps service-based business owners build profitable and sustainable online businesses that continue to grow even when they’re offline. And here’s a fun IMPRESSIVE fact: In just 12 months, Steph took her online business from a hundred K to over a million dollars without the tradeoff of more hustle and more time.

But that’s not all Steph does! Steph is also the host of the podcast, Imperfect Action, which has clocked over two million downloads and counting. Through her episodes, Steph teaches online businesses how they too can reach financial choice, time, and location freedom through her framework that blends strategy, content sales systems, and mindset. 

Imperfect Action Podcast by Steph Taylor
All of that is incredibly impressive!

But the reason we picked Steph as the featured podcaster for this first study is what Steph was able to do the week she launched her podcast…

She reached that coveted Number 1 spot in Apple Podcasts during launch week!

So, how did Steph do it? How did she rank in Apple Podcasts in the week she launched her show?

Let’s find out!

Case Study: Steph Taylor’s Strategy to Rank In Apple Podcasts

Step 1: Produce High-Quality, Listener-Focused Content

First and foremost, it all starts with creating high-quality episodes. Now this will literally be our “Step 1” for every strategy for achieving podcast success. This is will never not be a vital step. If you want your show to grow and achieve success, you will always have to create high-quality episodes. High-quality in terms of content and audio production.

But Steph Taylor took this to the next level when it comes to her strategy to rank in Apple Podcasts. Not only did she focus on creating high-quality first episodes, Steph also ensured that those first episodes were listener-focused. (We’ll dive deeper into this in Step 3!)

Step 2: Launch with A Number of Episodes

Step 2 in Steph’s strategy to rank in Apple Podcasts is something we always tell our clients: When you’re planning your podcast launch, plan to launch with more than one episode!


Well, because this helps fast-track the relationship between you and your listeners. Just as you get to know someone the more you engage in conversation with them, so your listeners get to know you better the more content you share with them. And this is vital for building a loyal listener base.

But there is another key reason why this is a great podcast launch strategy, especially if you’re looking to launch with a bang! (Again, we can’t promise a Number 1 rank in Apple Podcasts, but there will be great launch stats!) And the reason is simple. The more amazing, value-filled episodes you have available on Podcast Launch Day, the longer your listeners will stay engaged with your show. And this, as with any listener-based medium, does great things for the metrics.

This is what Steph Taylor did when she launched her podcast, and this is what we highly recommend all podcasters do whenever they’re planning their podcast launch!

(Want more insider tips to help you ace your podcast launch? Then check out this episode of Business Beyond the Mic where Carli and Reuben break down all you need to know about successful podcast launches!)

Step 3: Acing the Algorithm

And now we get to the key step that helped Steph rank in Apple Podcasts at Number 1 the week that she launched her show. 

(Remember: Algorithms are tricksy things, and we cannot guarantee this will definitely work for everyone! BUT this is a great strategy for building your loyal listener base and getting your target audience finding and engaging with your show as you launch.)

Was Steph able to achieve this because she had a strong brand and a massive email list already? Guess what? No! Steph actually had quite a small email list – around 1,000 subscribers – as she prepared to launch her podcast.

HOT TIP! This email list had been built by consistently creating highly-valuable free content…this is a really effective way to grow a mailing list.

But here is the magic of Steph’s podcast launch strategy…

Steph made sure her first episodes were specifically listener-focused. Steph co-created her first 10 to 20 episodes essentially with her target audience. 

She went into certain business Facebook groups and shared that she was starting a podcast. She also shared that the episodes were going to be five to ten minutes long, and that she would be talking about relevant marketing issues.

Then she asked the key question…”What questions do you have or what struggles do you have when it comes to marketing your business?” 

And BINGO! She got a long list of things that people – her target audience! – were struggling with. From there, what Steph did was pick some of the top questions or struggles people seemed to have, and she created her first couple of episodes around these. A genius way to ensure that your podcast is serving its target audience right from its launch!

And then when Steph had launched her podcast and published those episodes, she went back to that Facebook group, found that relevant question, and then commented to share that she had just created an episode based on this question. And she added the link to that episode in the comment! 

The result? Excited engagement from her target audience right from Launch Day!

But there is one more element to Steph’s launch strategy that helped seal the deal to rank in Apple Podcasts…

So, we mentioned Steph had a small email list. And so she used that mailing list to announce that her podcast was launching soon. BUT! She didn’t tell them the name of the podcast just yet. This meant her audience couldn’t go and subscribe until the launch date. 

Why did this matter?

Because one of the understood ways of how the “top charts ranking” works in Apple Podcast is that it is based on the number of new subscribers over seven days. But, it is a weighted average. 

So Steph used this information to her advantage.

She wanted as many people as possible to subscribe in those first 24 hours, ideally in those first 48 hours. So in that time period, she went to work. She sent out those emails to her mailing list, she showed up on social media, she commented in those Facebook groups with a very specific CTA – “Subscribe to my podcast”.

And her hard work and strategy paid off!

And because Steph had laid a clear path to get her target audience to her podcast, within her desired timeframe. And because, when her listeners found her show, they found a number of amazing episodes perfectly tailored to the type of content they were looking for, Steph was able to score big in the metrics department. And the result was that coveted Number 1 rank in Apple Podcasts.

From that incredible start, Steph’s podcasting journey has only gained more traction and has soared from strength to strength. Imperfect Action has turned into a massive driver of new email subscribers which, in turn, have converted to impressive online course sales. This, in turn, is what runs her business. 

(Fun fact! Imperfect Action actually wasn’t the name of the podcast when Steph launched! She rebranded! Perhaps that will be a future case study? How to do a successful podcast rebrand….)

So, Steph really laid such a great foundation for her show that her podcast has almost become the engine of her entire business.

And if that’s not something to aspire to, we don’t know what is!

If you want to hear more from Steph Taylor, then check out her conversation with Carli on this episode of Business Beyond the Mic. There is so much value in that conversation, you don’t want to miss out! 

And as we stated in the beginning of this case study, Steph Taylor is an incredible business strategist! She has created some amazing resources to help you achieve your dreams and far-surpass your goals. So head on over to her website to find out all she has to offer!

The Case Study Conclusion

In conclusion, Steph Taylor was able to rank in Apple Podcasts at the Number 1 spot during her launch week for three reasons. First and foremost, Steph consistently created value-packed, listener-focused episodes. This is true from those all-important first few launch episodes (recall how she tailored those first episodes to be exactly what her target audience was looking for!) right through to her 700th episode and counting! Valuable content first, that will always be the key. 

Secondly, Steph launched with a number of episodes. Again, this is something we always tell our clients. You want to launch with at least 3 episodes. This helps fast-track the relationship between you and your listeners. But it also helps keep your listeners engaged with your show, especially as you launch. The more content that you launch with, the more there is to consume, and the longer listeners ‘stay’ on your show.

And finally

Steph did the groundwork to ensure her target audience found her show right away, so that she could use the way Apple Podcasts evaluates listens in her favor during her launch week. The double punch of getting her listeners to ‘tune in’ during those specific 48 hours and creating the exact type of content her target audience were after is what helped Steph Taylor rank in Apple Podcasts at Number 1 in her podcast launch week.

Again, we can’t guarantee that following these steps will ensure that you rank in Apple Podcasts as soon as you launch your podcast. As much as we wish we could! But we can guarantee that applying these steps will, without a doubt, set you off on a great trajectory as you launch your show. 

And through studying cases of what has helped other podcasters achieve success, and applying these strategies to your own show, or tweaking them and combining them with your own podcasting strategies, you will find opportunities and strategies tailored to your show’s success journey!

Want help with launching your own podcast? Check out our LAUNCH PACKAGES here or schedule a FREE CALL with one of our team here.

Want to find out more about a specific avenue of the podcasting journey? Or want to know how another podcaster aced an angle of the podcasting process? Tell us! And we’ll get “On the Case!”

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