Should you launch your podcast with Episode 0? Does iTunes New and Noteworthy REALLY matter?


“Episode 0” is a common strategy to help you launch your podcast in iTunes and help you get into “New & Noteworthy.” But do either of these actually matter for starting your podcast?

Challenging the Podcasting Assumptions

This is a special miniseries to challenge the ideas podcasters have accepted as truth for years. Some will stand up against the challenge while others crumble, and some will reveal new options you may have never considered.

Should you launch your podcast with “Episode 0”?

When you're starting your podcast, you must have at least one episode in your RSS feed. Nearly all podcast apps/directories require this. If you don't have at least one episode, your feed may even return a 404 “page not found” error.

A common technique for launching (without prerecording a few episodes) is to start with an “Episode 0.”

What is an “Episode 0”?

Most podcasters who use an “Episode 0” treat it as an introduction to their entire show. It usually answers questions like the following.

  • Who are you?
  • How are you qualified to talk about this?
  • Why are you podcasting?
  • What will this podcast be about?
  • What can I expect about this podcast's format and schedule?
  • Why should I subscribe? (What's in it for me?)

Each of these questions are important for you to answer, because your audience will ask them. But is an “Episode 0” the best way to do this?

Some podcasters will use an audio or video promo as an “Episode 0.” I think that fine and good to put in a short promo as your first episode, but this isn't actually an “Episode 0.” (The next episode in this series will be about whether promos and audio branding are necessary and worth the expenses.)

Why an “Episode 0” may be helpful

Because “Episode 0” is usually a full introduction episode, it can become a resource for referencing in later episodes. It's something you can send people to for more information on you and your show's purpose. At any point, you could say, “To learn more about why I do this podcast, visit”

How do you think an “Episode 0” is helpful? Please comment and share your experience!

Why an “Episode 0” may be worthless

There are several reasons you may want to skip the “Episode 0”:

1. New people don't care about you

One of the hardest and most important things to accept and remember in podcasting is that nobody cares about you—at least not yet; people care about your content first. Remember that people want to be helped and entertained. It seems that most “Episode 0” content is all about the podcast host, about the podcast itself (maybe some “navel-gazing”?), and is neither helpful nor entertaining.

2. You need a great first-impression

The first episode in your feed will usually be the most-downloaded. So do you really want “all about me” content to be everyone's first and most popular impression?

(In my case, my top episode is actually #5 about Chris's Dynamic Compressor with more than 12,000 downloads, #3 about the bare minimums (which I should update) with more than 9,000 downloads, and then #1 about the POD of podcasting with close to 8,000 downloads.)

3. You need more than one introduction

An “Episode 0” may also be unnecessary and create an incorrect assumption in your mind. If you release an introductory episode, it's easy to assume that everyone has heard it and knows who you are and what your podcast is about. I recommend that you treat every episode as someone's first time consuming your content, so introduce yourself and the show every time. Because you do this every time, you need to figure out how to do it concisely. The more you refine this, the better your marketing will get.

You may remember that, for a long time, my introduction to The Audacity to Podcast was, “a ‘how-to' podcast about podcasting and using Audacity.” I later added “award-winning” to it. I would close with “Now that I've given you some of the guts and taught you some of the tools”—which has been part of my branding from the beginning—”it's time for you to go podcast with passion, organization, and dialog.” I've since refined that to remove the “cute” POD and be more practical.

Now, my intro is, “Thank you for joining me for The Audacity to Podcast. I'm Daniel J. Lewis and this is the award-winning ‘how-to' podcast about podcasting. It's where I give you the guts and teach you the tools to launch or improve your own podcast for sharing your passions and finding success.” (I never read this. It's such a part of my branding that I can say it without thinking.) It's accurate and tells new listeners and reminds existing listeners what my content is all about.

4. You don't need an introduction episode

Introductions as main content are very rare. You'll never see an introductory episode for TV shows, introductory movie for series, or introductory book for a series of novels. Each of these will often contain introductory content, but it is within the regular content and not content all by itself.

This doesn't mean you always have to jump straight into your regular format. It's okay to have your first episode help introduce your show, but you can make it so much better.

Think of how you can make your first episode helpful to your audience, and weave an introduction into that. Here are some random examples of valuable content that includes introductory content.

  • For a show about video games, “The top 10 video games you should have played in the past 10 years”
  • For an entrepreneur-interviews show, “10 steps to being a successful entrepreneur” (one of the steps can be “Listen to this podcast” and why!)
  • For a podcast about a TV show, “What we hope to get from _____ TV series” or “Why you should be watching ____” (Check out what Ben and Daniel did at Welcome to Level Seven – the unofficial podcast for Marvel's Agents of SHIELD.)
  • For a news shows, “The best news stories you never heard”

Remember that you don't have to record your first episode first. Actually, it may be better to record a couple or few regular episodes (before going live) and then going back to record your first episode. Then you can tease some of what's coming.

Conclusion: skip “Episode 0” and start with great content

It's up to you for what to do about an “Episode 0” you already released. If you decide it's not worthwhile, then you could either completely remove it, or replace it with something more valuable.

If you're starting your podcast, think outside the “Episode 0” and figure out a way to launch with great content to make a great first-impression!

Does “New & Noteworthy” really matter?

Several podcasters have been talking about the “New & Noteworthy” section in iTunes. It may not be as important and unreachable as you may think, or maybe more than you thought.

What is “New & Noteworthy”?

When you submit a podcast to iTunes Store, it is personally reviewed by someone on the Apple podcasts team. Sometimes, they'll decide to feature it in a special section of iTunes called “New & Noteworthy” (N&N). Every category and subcategory of the iTunes podcast catalog has its own N&N listing, and the store front page has an overall list, too.

But N&N isn't always new stuff. I've even had a couple of my old podcasts be featured again in N&N, and so have others. Thus, some people think it should be called “New or Noteworthy.” English grammar can sometimes get in the way of properly understanding the title of this section. It's not that every item in the list is both new and noteworthy. But this is a list of new podcasts and of noteworthy podcasts.

Why is “New & Noteworthy” such a big deal?

Podcasters want so much to be in iTunes' “New & Noteworthy” section because they want to grow their audience. It is irrefutably true that being in N&N will attract a lot of new people to your podcast.

My Once Upon a Time podcast was listed in N&N when the second half of the TV-show's third season return. Because Network is a successful podcast network, I am Content Partner with Apple, which gives me access to stats. (Yes, it's true that there are stats from Apple! Just not everyone can get them—yet.) Here are my findings from 2014.

  • March (season returned on March 9): 4,974 browsed to our iTunes listing, 484 subscribed
  • April: 3,298 browsed, 256 subscribed
  • May (season ended on May 12): 2,929 browsed, 289 subscribed

You can see that being featured again gave us a boost of twice the new subscriptions over the following months.

When I launched The Audacity to Podcast, it quickly jumped to the #5 slot in N&N and I was getting thousands of downloads and my subscriptions jumped into the hundreds right away.

The other truth of N&N is that the spike will die down when you're no longer featured. The above numbers indicate a large number of people browsing to our listing and maybe even sampling an episode, but fewer than 10% of those browsers chose to subscribe.

This is why each of your episodes should introduce you and your show's purpose!

So if you launch and want to get featured, you should ensure your first few episodes are some of your best content so you'll entice your browsers to stick around for more.

But if you don't get featured, then you have a good opportunity to improve over time.

How to get in “New & Noteworthy” on iTunes

Simple: submit your podcast to iTunes. That's all it takes to be somewhere on the complete list of new and noteworthy podcasts.

But most people have their eyes on the top thirty-two places that appear on the front page of the iTunes podcast catalog or within a category or subcategory of the podcast catalog. This is more about ranking and launching well.

Here are the basic steps:

  1. Have an audience eager for your content.
  2. Launch with at least one episode quality episode.
  3. Encourage your audience to subscribe, rate, and especially write reviews for your show in iTunes.

Those three steps are the most important, but here are some additional tips.

  • Have great-looking podcast cover art.
  • Have a thorough description.
  • Use good keywords in your show and episode titles and descriptions.
  • Launch with three or more episodes.
  • Consistently produce content for month after you launch.

Can you be “noteworthy” again?

This is pure speculation! Yes, I think you can be noteworthy again when you truly deserve it. That sounds harsh, but here are two cases when your podcast as a whole (not an individual episode) may be noteworthy again.

  1. Your show returned from a planned hiatus (and you'll be consistent again!)
  2. You rebranded your show

Those two are the only scenarios I can see for deserving to be noteworthy again. If either of these are the case, you could try emailing with your show feed, iTunes URL for your show, and legitimate explanation for why your show should be considered noteworthy again.

Conclusion: N&N matters, but focus on launching well

Yes, the “New & Noteworthy” section in iTunes matters for your podcast and can help you find an audience you may have never reached. But look at this as a reward for launching with a great podcast instead of being part of your launch strategy or the requirement for a successful podcast.


  • Register for UK Podcasters or Podcast Movement, both the podcasting places to be in August 16–17, 2014.
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  • I have a new, secret podcasting resource coming this week or next, and it will be free!

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This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.

About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his son live near Cincinnati.
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Jason Bryant
8 years ago

Great episode DJL, because as many of you in the podcast space explain, podfading when you don’t stick to a consistent schedule is almost imminent. One thing with the podcasts I’ve hosted in the past were being consistent. In a news-based niche, trying to capitalize on the news can be great, until other things get in the way. With my current podcast, I’m setting consistent release times and I’m starting to see consistent numbers and some steady (slow, but steady) growth. I find I was initially doing the podcast (at first) the same day as a release and there was no rhyme or reason to it. Now that I’ve found a good MWF (two of the shows I produce and host myself) format, listeners are starting to become aware they are released on certain days and they’re already downloading the episodes before I even hit the social media blast on Twitter, Facebook and G+. This series has been fantastic. For some reason, I feel like I’m coming off as a fanboy with listening live and incessant commenting, but this series REALLY is helpful, even to those like me who think they’ve got some of the timing stuff figured out.

Jason Bryant
8 years ago

I always travel with a computer in case news breaks. I’m generally internet connected when I need to be. But I’m starting to make sure I have content in the hopper ready to go. An example is this coming week. I’m going to North Carolina for a wedding for about 5 days. During that time, I’ll have two shows to release. They’re already done. Just plug them into wordpress and auto post when the time comes and hit social media the days they auto post. It’s something I actually did when I traveled on my old show long before I’d ever heard of the John Lee Dumas, who I’ve actually only listened to once.

So I have Friday (of this week), and Monday (of next) already loaded and ready. Wednesday is the only show that’s recorded and released the same day, but that’s actually another show within my podcast. We record that show from a radio station in Iowa as part of our podcast, so that’s the Wednesday show. The only problem that can come up there is little tech knowledge at the station, so I use Audio Hijack to get the audio off the live stream (which can be risky at times, no the studio doesn’t seem to want to record the show for us unless they absolutely have to).

I’m trying to build up non-timely shows (since my offseason is interview based) to have ready to drop in within a two week period and then have the ability to move shows based on relevance. On Monday, I’d already released a podcast and was waiting for Friday to release a big name interview. Then there was a hire at a Division I wrestling program (new head coach). So I’ve got that person as Friday and bumping the previous guest show to Monday. I don’t actually publish the show on blubrry until I know my order, so I’m not saying “Episode 61” when it’s actually 62 or 60.

I also have the Roland ready to roll if I need to do things on the road. I always travel with my computer, even though I might not turn it on.

1 year ago

Hi, I am new to podcasting and would like to launch at the end of the summer.
I am familiar with WP and would use it to create a website as a place to house my podcast episodes etc.
I am thinking of going with Buzzsprout as a podcast host and I know they have a plugin with WP. So that’s good.
So my question is: do I need a site that will host WP? And if yes, what might work?

Thomas Byskov Dalgaard
Thomas Byskov Dalgaard
1 year ago

Hello Daniel!

Thanks for this great mini series. Are you aware that all these episodes (from 170 to 181) aren’t available via the rss feed” ?
Does this serie use it’s own feed?

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x