23 JUNE 2017

written by Mike




The popularity of a podcast depends on various factors. The voice of the host/hostess, the charm, the research, passion, luck, production, the team and the topic.

Today I want to focus on the last one – the topic.

It’s one thing to be passionate about a subject, and another to have other people like it too. Take Casefile for example, not only the research and production are the main ‘selling’ point of the podcast, but true crime genre has been popular as ever. People are drawn to stories based on real events, and that’s what makes the shows like Making a Murderer or Serial so well known.

That and the excellent presentation of the facts.

I’m not saying that you should jump on the latest trend and start a show, that rarely works. But it’s a good practice to know what is currently popular and if any of your interests align. Success is a result of hard work and dedication, but if you can help it with strategic planning, then it may make the venture a little bit easier.

But how can you find out what’s popular, what is trending?

There are many ways you can do it, and today we’ll have a look at a few of them.





Google Trends lets you see the latest data, visualisations and information on what is trending near you. Not only you can see the insights and most popular stories, but you can also type in a keyword/subject and see how it looks over the time.

Let’s type in ‘podcast’ keyword.




We know that the score now is at all time high – 100 and during last 5 years, the line was heading upwards.

It’s a good time to start a podcast!

Let’s now search ‘true crime’.




There was a big spike in 2012, then the line a went down, and the trend picked up again with the current score at 73.

Google Trends will also show you the interest by region, related topics and related queries. Everything you need to test out an idea for a podcast.


What is a better way to know what is trending than a podcasting charts?

There are a few ways to do it, one is to open the iTunes app and study Top Episodes and Top Podcasts, or you can visit which plays the same function. I prefer to look at iTunes app on a desktop computer/laptop as it provides better visual experience.

At the top, we can see featured podcasts, the ones that iTunes promotes.

Below we have New & Newsworthy and collections selected by iTunes content managers.




 But what is popular at the moment?

On the right sidebar, you have great charts – Top Episodes and Top Podcasts. It will show you 200 most listened, subscribed, favourite podcasts in a selected country.

At the bottom of the app, you can change the country, and it will show you different charts – adjusted to the chosen place. Look at the list, study the podcasts and try to spot the patterns.

What is popular but also seems like a fad?

There was a lot of political podcasts at the top of the charts during US presidential election – they all appear to be gone now. After a while, you will be able to spot elements that make the show to reach the top of the charts.


The last one on today’s list is a website called SocialBlade.

It may not be one that targets podcasting directly, but you can learn a lot by looking at other online trends. SocialBlade offers user statistics for Youtube, Twitch, Instagram and Twitter.



You can see what accounts have most followers, what kind of categories are most popular and what are the general trends. Once you get past the most obvious celebrity accounts, you can easily spot what kind of content is favoured by people.

Of course, not all the data from SocialBlade will automatically relay to podcasting, but it can help you to narrow the search and see if someone else is doing a similar thing but on another platform. From then you can study the content, and apply the findings podcasting.

This is not an extensive list, and there are many other ways you can test your podcasting idea. First and foremost you need to like the topic. Podcasting is a lot of hard work, and if you don’t have a passion for the subject, you will struggle. To get to the top of the charts, it takes a lot of work as well as luck.

Are you working on something that can be just a fad?

Or you planning to have a long-term show that will always find an audience?

It’s easier said than done, so always try to do at least a bit of market research before jumping in too deep.

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