Spotify: How to Apply for Editorial Coverage
The podcast content pool is enormous. As it stands, there are over 4 million podcasts on Spotify alone. So for many podcasters, getting their show discovered is hard. As many of us work tirelessly to make our marketing strategies as effective as possible, we can become disheartened when shows skyrocket in popularity with mass visibility and swan-like grace and ease.
So why do specific podcasts appear when you search within Spotify? Why are they getting featured within their homepage's prime real estate? And what can you do to get your podcasts there? Bribe someone? Perhaps– but there is a more kosher way to do it– and it won't cost you a dime.
Spotify's Editorial Feature
Over the last few years, Spotify has invested heavily in podcasts. Not only are they shaking hands on eye-watering licensing deals with the likes of Joe Rogan, but there's also been a massive push towards lifting indie podcasts. Spotify is estimated to reach 32.5 million podcast listeners per month, so there is a lot of marketing value for creators that are featured on Spotify's editorial-curated podcast homepage.
These curated podcasts are about discovery and connecting listeners with lesser-known podcasts they'll love. So naturally, to be seen in such a prominent position will help drive a ton of traffic towards your show.
One way to get there is by filling out the editorial coverage submission form and pitching your podcast.
Spotify's Mission: The Editorial Overview
Part of Spotify's mission is to democratize audio by giving every creator the chance to be seen and heard. Got a podcast about cat grooming in the Outer Hebrides? Recording a marketing podcast with exquisite storytelling at its heart? - Spotify wants to hear your pitch.
Every application that passes the editorial team's hands will be reviewed and considered. They aim to highlight a wide range of formats, including video podcasts, backgrounds, and experience levels.
Their teams of playlist editors are made up of audio consumers unlike any other. Many of whom spend at least 20 hours per week tuning into shows and work tirelessly to group the best episodes into topical, streamable playlists.
"The Podcast homepage is the first page users see when they click "Podcasts" on the home screen of the Spotify app. So, it's important for users who are browsing for new shows to listen to. This page shows Editor's Picks of the best episodes of the moment and top trending categories." - Spotify
Submitting your podcast for a feature is a relatively simple and self-explanatory process. However, we wanted to cover a few best practices to help boost your chances of your show getting noticed.
U.S. podcasting community ONLY (for now).
How Does Spotify Choose Which Shows To Highlight
The Spotify team discovers podcasts in multiple ways, including newsletters, social media, networks, peer recommendations, and of course, the Editorial Submission Form.
The dedicated team spends their valuable time reviewing these submission forms and listening to suggested podcasts to feature on the homepage and curated lists. Spotify's homepage is the first page potential listeners see when they click "Podcasts" on the home screen within the app. This page shows Editor's Picks of the best episodes of the moment and top trending categories.
"A lot of our curation is thematic, so if your podcast is not a current fit for something at this time, it may fit in a later collection or curation." - Isabella Way
Getting your podcast noticed isn't always down to perfect sound quality and a hilarious host. In fact, their overall criteria are not even close to being set in stone, so it can make the pitching process feel a little directionless.
But, to help light the way, Spotify has kindly laid out a few specific qualities they seek in the podcasts CONTENT they choose to feature.
- Hook them in! Give them a reason to keep listening
- Educate and entertain (e.g., narrative, investigative journalism, etc.)
- Make your content authentic and inclusive
- Enlighten or challenge listeners through compelling conversations
- Consistent across theme and production value
- They love surprises, plot twists and turns, and gripping storytelling (e.g., true crime, documentary)
- Personality-driven/incredible host chemistry (e.g., interview-driven shows)
- Well-researched and has a range of voices (e.g., news & politics, science, history)
- Delivers a frictionless listening experience
- Experimental in format (e.g., fiction, music, comedy)
Although the reviewers greatly appreciate (and encourage) a certain level of creativity within the submissions, there are some guidelines and points to consider that we wanted to highlight below.
- All content should follow the Spotify Platform Rules, as outlined here.
- You'll need to include a Spotify link, so your podcast must be available on Spotify in the U.S.
- Only submit the same podcast once a month and only re-submit if you have at least two new episodes in your feed. They look at every submission!
- All genres, lengths, and formats (including video) are welcome.
- You should ALWAYS provide a show description.
- The podcast must be non-subscription and/or free content.
- Editorial placement is at the discretion of the editorial team.
- If your podcast is featured, share on social media and tag @spotifypodcasts, @forpodcasters, and @anchor. (Anchor is Spotify's podcast creation platform.)
Perfect Your Logline!
A logline is essentially a one-line sentence that sums up your show- often referred to as an "elevator pitch." Your logline isn't the same as a podcast's description, which details the finer points of your show. Instead, it should be quick and snappy.
Need inspiration? Loglines are everywhere; book covers, T.V. guide descriptions, and streaming services like Netflix or Amazon. So if you need inspiration, you only have to look as far as your favorite form of entertainment!
For example, "The Godfather," "The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son."
Points to consider:
Know Your Audience: Create a persona that represents your ideal listener and strive to appeal to them.
Keep It Short: The general rule is to keep your logline at 30 words or less. Also, eliminate the use of passive verb phrases.
Leave the Audience Wanting More: You don't undersell your podcast, but strive to leave them wanting more. Boil your podcast down to its essence, and create that hook.
Conflict and challenges: Conflict and stating challenges can help to drive the narrative, keep audiences engaged and sell.
"The logline is a sentence that delivers all the necessary information about a project. The genre, the protagonist, the set-up, the problem or the hindrance to said goal." - Mary Kole
Workshop your logline – a lot! Run it by your peers, and aim for great, not for "good enough."
FURTHER READING: Ma'ayan Plaut does a great job breaking down how to craft your podcast's logline.
Submit Your Favorite Episode
"If we can only listen to one episode, tell us where to start!"
First impressions count. When choosing which episode to include in your submission form, pick one that fully encapsulates your podcast or hits on a topic that's currently en vogue. The editorial team receives thousands of submission forms each month. They are a busy bunch and therefore don't have time to listen to multiple episodes.
Qualities of strong content that the editors look for:
The editor's mission is to be on the lookout for great content that either hits an emotional hotspot, tells a great story, touches on a timely topic, solves a problem, or teaches listeners. Even they admit it's hard to give a short, objective list of what they're looking for exactly, but for the most part:
- Good audio quality
- Compelling storytelling or hosts
- Something emotive or inspiring
- An episode that teaches something in an interesting way.
This episode will usually be the first time a Spotify team member interacts with your podcast's content. So, strive to make a great first impression!
If you have an episode that ticks any of those boxes, share it using your Spotify link.
Social Sharing and Stats
It's not the size that counts; it's how you use it - your social following, that is.
While the size of your social media following isn't essential to the Spotify team, your activity is! The editors are way more concerned about featuring great, diverse content that speaks to different communities.
So, stick with the mantra - "Strong content over stats!"
"I championed and launched the Editorial Submission Form so that we could discover more podcasts, especially indie podcasts and creators. The team I work with is very diverse, and we believe in curating different voices." Isabella Way is the Podcast Programming Lead on the U.S. Podcast Editorial Team at Spotify.
If your podcast is featured, feel free to share on social media and tag @spotifypodcasts, @forpodcasters, and @anchor. Anchor is Spotify's podcast creation platform. Spreading the word about your feature can help build your audience.
How Often Should You Submit?
Spotify's editorial team reviews every single submission that comes in. So they recommend that people don't submit their podcast more than once a month. Feel free to submit again, especially if there has been a notable change within your podcast, including its format, audio quality, whether you're about to start a new season, etc.
You are welcome to reapply as long as you have posted at least two episodes since your last feature request.
Once you've submitted, always consider applying again, especially if any notable changes are coming up within your content (e.g., format, special episodes, new season, change in host or direction, etc.).
Spotify is dedicated to bringing unique and diverse pieces to the forefront of the podcast space. They want indie creators to be recognized for their storytelling and creativity, so they want podcasters to showcase their podcasts.
If your content is top-tier and engaging, then make sure you follow Spotify's editorial guidelines, have a great longline to bolster your pitch, have a really solid episode to showcase, and that if you're featured, TELL PEOPLE ABOUT IT!
Ready to pitch your show?
Or, if you want to read more about Spotify's editorial features, check out their blog HERE.