How to Do Research For a Podcast Efficiently

Mention the word research when it comes to creating content for a podcast, blog or video series and the reactions could be anything from enthusiasm to dismay.

Some people are born researchers. They light up at the thought of digging into all the published data or finding out what somebody in their field says on Twitter. Give them a keyword research task or ask them to start a Google search and they're all over it.

Other people simply aren't interested in being researchers, and the whole process seems to be too much effort and a waste of time.

But you can gather invaluable insights when you research podcasts with Rephonic.

Who benefits from podcast research?

Producers of new podcasts

If you're launching a podcast, it makes sense to discover who your competition is.

Research uncovers what formats and topics other podcasts are doing. You hear the ongoing conversation in your niche, and it helps you identify possible gaps or oversaturation in the market.

Podcast guests and sponsors

Do you want to interview as a guest or sponsor a show in your niche? In that case, you'll want to do a ton of research.

For example:

  • What is the podcast format?
  • Do they do interviews, or is it a solo show?
  • Who are the host or co-hosts, and what are they like on air?
  • What sort of interview questions do they ask?
  • What kind of engagement does the podcast get on social media?
Podcast interview format

You also want to learn about their podcast metrics like download numbers, audience demographics, how many listeners they get per episode, where they sit on the charts, and what reviews they're getting.

Listening is research too

Another vital research component involves actually listening to a few episodes of the podcast.

If you're producing a podcast, you'll want to listen to similar shows to gauge the topics they cover and their formats. What's their brand story? What personal touch makes them stand out?

Knowing that information allows you to create a point of difference for your podcast.

Of course, if you want to write a podcast pitch as a guest or sponsor, you're listening with a different ear.

For example, you'll listen for pertinent points that you can mention in your pitch and assess the vibe to see if the hosts and format fit with your brand or target audience.

(Check our guide on how to get booked on podcasts by writing a great pitch for more details.)

You're also checking the audio quality because nothing turns listeners away, like consistently poor audio recording.

All in all, there are certainly many pieces of information to consider when you're researching podcasts.

So the next questions are, what podcast data is available, and where can you find it?

What podcast data can you find?

Podcasting is a somewhat fragmented industry, and until recently, it was challenging to find out much of the information you wanted to know.

That's because there isn't one podcast platform that everyone subscribes to. Instead, there are multiple players, from podcasting giants like Apple and Spotify down to the smaller platforms like Castbox.

Each platform has a different process for reporting podcast listener data, ratings and reviews, subscriber numbers etc. Many have various lists and methods of ranking podcasts or helping you find podcasts in your niche. Some don't allow ratings and reviews at all.

Find podcast data with Rephonic

Fortunately, Rephonic lets you bypass all those obstacles. Our technology collates all the data across hundreds of sources and brings it together in one tool.

Let's see what podcast data research you can achieve on Rephonic.

Podcast listener numbers

Some sources refer to download numbers and others to podcast subscribers, and still others refer to podcast listeners.

Rephonic shows the estimated listeners per episode for most of the half a million or so active podcasts in its database. Knowing how many listeners are tuning into each podcast episode gives you a more accurate idea of how many people regularly engage with the show.

Podcast audience data on Rephonic

Chart rankings

Most people look to the Apple Podcasts charts to see how niche podcasts rank across various categories.

You could do a Google search or try to find the podcast in Apple. However, these rankings differ from country to country, and Apple doesn't have one universal chart. If you're in the US, you'll automatically see the United States chart, but you'll have to search to discover the podcast's rankings in other countries.

Rephonic makes it much easier by reporting the podcast chart rankings from all of Apple's charts on that podcast's data page. You'll automatically see the rankings and categories in the US, UK and Canada at the top.

Podcast rankings in different countries

Listener gender skew

When you're researching whether particular podcast listeners fit your ideal audience profile, it can be helpful to see whether their listeners are predominantly female, male or a mixture.

Rephonic shows that data on each podcast page, but it also lets you look for podcasts with the gender skew that applies to your audience.

So, for example, if you're a mom blogger, you'll perhaps want to look for podcasts that skew female. But if your ideal customer avatar is middle-aged men, you would search with a male gender skew selected.

Gender skew for podcasts

Audience location

Where the podcast's primary audience is based may factor in your research, too, especially if your target audience is located in one particular country.

Again, Rephonic will show you where most of the podcast audience is based. However, you can also find podcasts based on audience location if necessary.

Searching for podcasts by audience location

Listener engagement

Rephonic looks at the growth in new listener ratings and reviews over multiple podcast apps over the past 30 days to determine the listener engagement score of 0-100.

It also lets you search for podcasts based on an engagement score range.

Searching for podcasts by engagement rate

It's worth noting that the engagement score doesn't relate to audience numbers. Some micro-influencers have small but highly-engaged audiences. Other podcasts may be much larger, but their audience is not quite so passionate.

Episode release frequency and active/inactive status

Every podcast listed in Rephonic has a page of data and metrics that includes information on how often the episodes are released. Most podcasters find that weekly episodes are about right, but some record twice-weekly, some fortnightly and more than a few broadcast every day.

Marketing School podcast data

Here, Eric Siu and Neil Patel publish daily episodes of the Marketing School Podcast, and the episode format is primarily guests and interviews.

Crucially, the podcast is listed as active. That's vital information if you want to pitch these hosts to become a guest or sponsor.

Contact information

Finally, when you've decided to do some podcast outreach, you want an easy way to contact the host or producer.

Rephonic has links to the podcast's social media accounts and a contact button that brings up the appropriate email addresses.

And if you need extra help, you can contact our Concierge Service, and the Rephonic team will find more contact information.

Podcast social data

How do you find a podcast niche for a new show?

When starting a new podcast, the last thing you want to do is dish up more of the same old thing. Many podcasts use the same formats of interviews or conversations, while relatively few are solo shows.

However, within those formats, there are comedy podcasts, news shows, industry updates, reality podcasts, commentaries, crime and drama, stories, how-to podcasts and a whole heap more.

If you want to launch a podcast, first work out your WHY so that you understand your goals. They could include:

  • Raising awareness of an issue
  • Positioning you as an expert in your field through teaching and the guests you interview on the show
  • Highlighting new research or innovation in a particular niche
  • Creating brand awareness
  • Making people laugh and lightening their day
  • Challenging yourself to learn new technical skills
  • Overcoming a fear of public speaking
  • Repurposing content from your blog or YouTube channel
  • Or it could be that you just think it would be a fun thing to do.

Next, think about your interests and industry. Find out what other niche podcasts are doing.

Brainstorm how you could do things differently. How could you (and maybe a co-host) add value in that niche?

Our 3D graph makes it easy to research podcasts in your niche. Once you find one, you'll gain access to all the others where Rephonic has found subscriber overlap.

Rephonic 3d graph tool to find similar podcasts

So when you discover one show in your niche, you can either scroll down to the "Related Podcasts" section or select the 3D graph—every clickable icon links to a podcast with a similar audience or ethos.

How do you research a podcast as a guest or sponsor?

As we've said in our Expert Guide to Podcast Interviews, prospective guests need to do their research before pitching podcast hosts. After all, you want to ensure that you'd be a good fit for their show and vice versa.

Guest and sponsor research involves finding similar podcasts where the audience demographics match your target audience.

Then, listen to some episodes. Familiarize yourself with each podcast's content and style. In other words, what do they talk about? What's the underlying message or theme to this podcast, and how can your story and expertise add value to the conversation?

Conclusion

Research is not an optional extra when it comes to podcasting.

Whether you plan to be a guest, sponsor a show or launch a new podcast, you need to know who's doing what and where you and your talents and ideas will fit.

Rephonic is the go-to platform for podcasting research. With Rephonic, all the information and links you need are either right there on the screen or just a click away.

So, if you're planning to launch a new show or draw attention to your message through podcasting, start your research journey today with our free trial.

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Lyn McNamee

Lyn McNamee

Contributor