How to Launch Your Podcast to Great Apple Podcasts Reviews - with a Social Contest or Sweepstakes

The ethical way to grow your ideal podcast audience, email list and social presence

Chapter 1

How Apple Podcasts Reviews are still effective in 2020/21

iTunes/Apple Podcasts reviews have long been one of the most effective ways to increase a podcast's visibility and authority 

Massive iTunes/Apple Podcasts reviews alone are no longer a guarantee to rise into the New & Noteworthy section of iTunes, but there are many other reasons why having great reviews is critical: 

  • Positive reviews get you more listeners
  • They provide social proof on Apple Podcasts
  • Social proof which can be repurposed on your website
  • They increase your show's perceived value and quality
  • Reviews increase your chance to be in New & Noteworthy. In fact, it's still a pre-requisite
The MFCEO Project Podcast has lots of reviews

Chapter 2

Why Social Contests are best for attracting reviews

Social contests are both an effective and ethical way to find your best audience

Podcast Launch Contest Example

When done well, a podcast social launch contest is an effective way to gain reviews. But beyond that, it is a good investment because it builds evergreen business assets:

  • Grows your podcast subscriber list with highly valuable email subscribers
  • Creates massive custom audiences for subsequent campaigns when coupled with Facebook Ads
  • Increases viral potential for rewarding social shares
  • Increases visibility across all of your social networks
  • Increases Facebook likes, Twitter Followers and visibility across all your social networks

As far as the New & Noteworthy section of the iTunes, the top 200 ranking podcasts now often include shows that used "Black Hat" techniques like purchasing subscribers and reviews.

We do not use or endorse any such techniques.

This is also why I like podcast contest based launches as an ethical, effective and a great investment for your podcast, email list and business as a whole.

If you are going to do any Facebook Ads, social or viral promotion for your podcast, this is a surefire way to maximize your spend:

Because you don't "just" get reviews, you are adding leads, followers and giving your show the best chance at viral success.

Chapter 3

The 6 elements of a successful podcast launch contest

What's the difference between a great launch campaign and crickets?

Great prize selection is an important part of any podcast launch contest

1. Great Prize Selection

Prize selection is one of the most critical elements of any successful social contest campaign

  • Should directly relate to what your podcast offers your audience already
  • Should have a high desirability factor
  • Should not rely on monetary value alone, but on relevance
  • Can include "free to create" materials, such a course, book, or consulting session. However, these can perform more poorly - unless coupled with widely desirable prizes in addition.
  • Should not depend on pre-existing familiarity with the author, speaker or podcaster

Podcast launch contests perform better with multiple prizes

2. Offer Multiple Prizes & Drawings

Offering multiple prizes increases participation, because people feel there is a better chance they can win something

  • A single "grand prize" can work only if it's of high (perceived) value. For example an all expenses paid vacation, or a photography gear package
  • Multiple prizes can be of lower value, and multiple drawings will retain interest and participation over several weeks
  • Combining lower valued prize drawings leading up to a  single grand prize is a popular approach  

Offer multiple ways to enter the podcast contest

3. Offer Multiple Ways To Enter The Contest

One critical success factors is to allow people to enter the contest multiple times, and in multiple ways. The genius here is that this prompts more people to take taking the most difficult step of leaving a podcast review, because they realize that if they do not, their entry is relatively weak compared to others 

  • Each entry comes with a requested action or activity, such as a Facebook Like, or Tweet, or signing up via email
  • Easier to complete actions are worth only a single entry (Twitter RT, Facebook Like)
  • Harder actions are worth multiple entries (iTunes Review)
  • This approach also creates greater business value from the contest, since people will not only leave a review, but also perform other valuable social tasks.

Podcast contest promotion

4. Aggressively Promote the Contest

Setting up a contest is only part of the story. Another critical success element is to promote it heavily. If you or your business have a relatively small social media footprint, running an ad campaign on Facebook or other social platforms is the most effective way

  • Passive social shares relying on organic visibility are typically not effective, unless you have a huge existing social media presence already
  • Your existing email list can seem like a great source for contest entrants, but open and conversion rates can be low. It may take several reminders to your list
  • Appearing on other people's shows with a "podcast guesting" outreach campaign can be very effective
  • We have found that running a Facebook Ad Campaign is by far the most effective way to get targeted traffic to your podcast launch contest. However, such campaigns are only cost effective when targeting and setup are done professionally
  • Modify your social profiles with new custom graphics letting people know about your contest. For example, on Facebook a new page header graphic, on Twitter both header graphics and 
  • Visibly embedding the contest on your existing website, with presence in your page headers, slide-ins, exit intent pop-ups and sidebars

Podcast launch contest length

5. Contest Length & Duration

What is the ideal length of a podcast launch contest?

  • More expensive prize = longer campaign
  • Lower cost prizes = short campaigns

Podcast launch campaign success factors

6. Overall Success & Effectiveness Factors

These are the most critical factors to get right

  • Desirability of the prize
  • Quality and conversion rate of of the contest landing page
  • Having a quality supporting Facebook Ad campaign (targeting, conversion, A/B testing)
  • Size and quality of existing email list and social media following
  • Presence on existing site and social media profiles

Chapter 4

8 Reasons why Teaming up with a podcast launch expert saves you time, money, headaches and worry

How podcast marketing experts can help you get the most from your contest

Results & iTunes Apple Podcasts Reviews

Don't leave your contest results and design up to chance, your contest promotion partner will ensure the best possible results

Evergreen investment beyond

A properly executed contest will result in multiple evergreen business assets, and your partner will leave no stone unturned to utilize the investment

Saving time

Setting up and configuring a podcast launch contest is extremely time consuming, especially if you are doing it for the first time

Highly converting contest pages

Your contest deserves an effective landing page, which can be difficult and time consuming to create yourself

Saving wasted money

Facebook ads cost money, teaming up with experienced FB experts makes sure that money is used effectively

Avoiding the learning curve

Contest platforms are complicated beasts, hiring an experienced partner avoids the steep learning curve

Conversion expertise

Work with a CRO savvy partner who understands user experience and how to incentivize people to leave reviews with psychological strategies

Multiple ways to enter

Our strategy allows many ways to enter your podcast launch contest. It is what creates the best possible ROI in reviews, subscribers and list growth

Chapter 5

Meet your podcast launch partner

Have you ever wondered how Apple Podcast or iTunes reviews would help your podcast launch, or boost your existing podcast?

My name is Juergen Berkessel, founder at POLYMASH

I left my corporate role in 2010 to start my own digital strategy and app development agency. Having worked for clients like Apple, I initially focused on app development, and we helped our clients launch and promote a number of successful iPad apps.  

But the iTunes app store was getting flooded with games, and my clients were more focused on inbound content and marketing strategy for their business. Since my wife and I had teamed up launched a podcast, I discovered 3 cool things about podcasting as an opportunity for my clients' businesses:

  1. Very few clients were interested in or good at creating content
  2. But they all loved talking about their business and passions on podcasts
  3. I was pretty good at coaching them through the process of launching their podcasts as an effective business content strategy

So I have specialized in helping authors, speakers, brands and even large corporates launch their own podcasts. The "social contest launch" is the best ethical way to quickly get iTunes / Apple Podcasts reviews, attract your ideal audience and build your email list and social presence for your podcast quickly. 

Juergen Signature

Polymash Logo
Juergen Berkessel

Here is why I feel I can can help you with your podcast launch contest:

  • Highly experienced Facebook marketer, currently managing $50K in campaigns 
  • Launch and marketing for over a dozen podcasts
  • Launched multiple #1 shows
  • Graphic design, UX design and SEO expertise
  • Web design and CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization)

Chapter 6

Our 10 step collaborative workflow for launching podcast social contests

How we help you run the best possible social contest to get iTunes or Apple Podcasts  reviews quickly, launch your show, and establish massive social proof for your podcast


We partner for contest strategy

We collaborate in a one-on-one workshop to determine your best podcast launch contest  


Determine your best give-aways & prizes

We help you with creative prize concepts as well as utilizing your existing assets and content


Develop professional graphics for you

We create professional on-brand graphics for your contest and your Facebook promotion


Setup your podcast launch contest 

We setup your podcast launch contest and connect it to your website, email list provider and social profiles 


Deploy your contest landing page

No need to worry about designing or hosting a highly converting landing page, we provide it all for you


Promote with Facebook Ads

We manage $50K+ Facebook campaigns on an daily basis, and will setup and run the promotion for you


Promote the contest with custom emails

We design custom graphics and copywriting to get the best open rates from your promoting to your email list


Social Media Profile Upgrades

We design custom graphics and update your Facebook and Twitter Profiles to promote your podcast launch contest


Winner Selections & Announcements

We run the winner selection process for each prize, and manage the winner announcement process 


Celebrate your new subscribers & reviews!

Let's launch your podcast social contest together!

What People Are Saying...

Dave Sherwin Host, the Diroby Health Show

This is high level info, loving it!

I contacted Juergen through the website and took him up on his offer of a free podcast training session through Zoom. He was very generous with his time, and gave me tons of great tips and ideas on how to improve my show. I am now going through each episode and taking notes on ways I can improve my podcast. This is high level info, loving it

Jack Ayres

lots of food for thought!

Juergen was very helpful and generous with his advice, lots of food for thought!

Larry Hagner Author, Speaker, and Founder of The Good Dad Project

The Real Deal

“Polymash is the real deal! I originally started working with Juergen to simply assist me with podcast production. What I received from him in service, dependability, turn around time, guidance, and coaching far exceeded my expectations. Without his help, I would not have successfully launched my podcast and re-branded my website. I cannot recommend him highly enough.”

Anthony Vicino Invictus Capital

Juergen brought massive value

Juergen gave me powerful new ways of thinking about how audiences search and find podcasts. Also, he had killer insights about the funnel process. Highly recommend scheduling a consult with Juergen. You won't be disappointed.

Marc Bautis Financial Advisor & Founder at Bautis Financial

I left with an action plan that was easy to follow and implement

I had a great experience attending one of Juergen's Podcast workshops. He provided a tremendous amount of info on how best to promote my podcast and what areas to focus on to improve my podcast audience and exposure. I left with an action plan that was easy to follow and implement

Marshall Lichty Host, "Lawyers with ADHD" Podcast

Dive into the Polymash Experience

I found this podcast late in my launch phase. I've been listening to a bunch of other ones, following a bunch of other tools and solutions, and generally chasing my tail for a couple of months now. Thing is, Polymash and Jeurgen have somehow figured out how to best them all. The website and email newsletter are chock full of value first. They have (obviously) made that a priority. And the podcast is a wonderful example of the podcaster I want to be. If you're thinking about starting or growing a podcast, dive into the Polymash experience. You won't be disappointed.

Katrina Carlson

I recommend his services

Juergen is a pro and an expert in every way. He was very patient with teaching my team and I how to launch our podcast. He gave us many useful tools and demystified the process for us. I recommend his services.

Heal Nourish Grow

I can't thank Polymash and Juergen enough

I spoke with Juergen today and what a gem he is! I'm launching a new podcast and submitted my name for SEO Saturdays. First of all, they ended up canceling one so he offered to meet with me at another time which was very generous. Second, not only did he give me some insight into my new podcast launch strategy, he also gave me some ideas about my existing site SEO. I am fairly experienced with SEO and have even taught a beginner's class in the past. What Juergen offered was more advanced strategy as well as being 1001% up to date on what's working in 2021. I can't thank Polymash and Juergen enough.

Stuart Dukeman CEO Capital Partners, Wealth Junkies Podcast

Polymash was definitely the right choice for us.

Making the decision to go with Polymash for podcast design and consulting was literally the best decision we could have made. Juergen's level of expertise was exactly what we needed and were looking for to get our podcast up and running. Not only did he deliver on everything he promised, but we easily received 10x the value with the information that he taught us along the way. For anyone that is looking to launch or improve their podcast and its' reach, I highly recommend that you consider the products and services that Polymash offers. You won't be disappointed! Want proof? Our podcast, Wealth Junkies, broke the Top 50 in its' category, within the first weekend of being launched! When you want something done right, find the right help.

Katie Krimitsos Women's Meditation Network Podcast

There are no words to describe how grateful I am for Juergen and his team at Polymash!

They are the rare combination of SEO + design + branding + business savvy that makes them the perfect team to execute your content and business goals. Juergen worked efficiently, strategically and intuitively and the results of his work has been game changing for my business!

Vaughn Kohler Co-Host The MFCEO Project Podcast

Helped Us Be #1

Polymash SEO and launch techniques helped us be #1, and we've added over 16,000 listener emails to our list!

Juliette Roy

Highly recommend for anyone starting with podcast and SEO!

Great live show to learn about SEO for beginners like me. Super informative and tons of resources and how-tos recommendations. Highly recommend for anyone starting with podcast and SEO!

Dr. Bryan Joseph Host, the Wellness Connection Show

A simple strategy to ensure success

The process of launching and growing a podcast became so smooth for us. I was intimidated by what we may have to do to get this off the ground and you outlined a simple strategy for us to follow to ensure success. Thank you for sharing all your wisdom and experience with us to make our launch successful.

Robyn Stratton Speaker, Author & Founder, Positivity Strategist Podcast

Getting on page one of Google Search Results

“Polymash helped me get on page one of Google for my main business keyword, even though it is competitive! Now 65% of my site traffic comes from organic search.”

Ken Page Host, Deeper Dating Podcast

Do. Not. Miss. This!

Juergen radiates integrity, and is full of invaluable insight, expertise and inspiration. He is the real deal, and I am beyond grateful I found his work. I just launched my podcast with his help. I just hit New and Noteworthy, and I plan to continue following his guidance and relying on his skill. It is rare to find a teacher and guide of his caliber. Do yourself a favor--Do. Not. Miss.This!

Lee Silverstein

An expert at all things SEO

If you're unhappy with where your site ranks on Google there's no better person to speak with than Juergen at Polymash. He is an expert at all things SEO and will work with you to get you the results you're seeking. Juergen also has extensive expertise in podcasting can help podcasters, from beginners to the more advanced, achieve success.

Anna David

I can't imagine that value they provide when you hire them!

I've had a podcast for 3 years and even have a podcasting for writers course that I've created. I really only reached out to PolyMash because a friend raved about her experience with them. I left the call (which was free, btw!!) more energized than I'd been in weeks and on fire with new ideas for enhancing not just my podcast but also my business. I actually begged to pay for the call (and they wouldn't let me). I can't imagine that value they provide when you hire them!

Jeanne Bliss World renowned CX Author, Speaker, Founder at CustomerBliss

Ranked as #1 on Google Search

"My goal was to rank as #1 on Google for the keyword ‘Customer Experience Podcast’. Polymash helped me get there within a few months!"

Susan Cooper

They are truly experts in their field

We've learned so much valuable information from the team at Polymash. After meeting Juergen at Podfest, and attending his sessions, we've dramatically increased our SEO on our Creative Outhouse website. We're learning how to optimize our site even more from the tactics and tools that Juergen has suggested on his live show. They are truly experts in their field.

Chapter 7

Is a podcast launch contest right for you?

How you can judge the effectiveness of this podcast growth approach

Podcast Launch Contest Badge

A collaborative podcast launch contest, sweepstakes or give-away program is right for you if:

You want to get the most out of launching your podcast

A podcast launch is time consuming as it is. With all the other aspects of audio production, episodes, guest schedules, many podcasters struggle to find enough time to dedicate to promoting their new baby.

We've seen it time and again: Promoting a podcast launch becomes an afterthought during this launch window.

But splitting the work with someone experienced can make the launch more enjoyable and allows podcasters to focus on what they like to do best: Recording their show, not marketing.  

This is a business & marketing investment

Some people podcast for fun. However, for many other podcasters, their show supports a business and content strategy.

So if podcasting is relatively new content venture for your business, podcast social contests are an effective promotion vehicle for your business as a whole, not just your podcast itself.

As such, social proof & visibility as well as increased email lists are a worthwhile investment. 

Your show currently has few reviews

It is hard enough for your show to be discovered in the first place. But when prospective listeners visit your Apple Podcasts page to no or only few reviews, your subscriber growth is impacted.

We know that leaving iTunes reviews is not a straightforward process, thanks to Apple. Even just getting family and friends to leave reviews can be like pulling teeth. We've also seen surprisingly poor results when sending requests to existing email lists. 

This is why podcast social give-aways, sweepstakes and contests are an effective incentive that produce the results you're after: Social proof and subscriber growth from new iTunes reviews.

You have not had much luck with Facebook Ads

One of the many reasons Facebook ads can fail or be ineffective is where the traffic is sent. Was your home page or landing page and what it promised desirable enough?

A well designed contest, give-away or sweepstakes solves this issue.

A collaborative program to help with your podcast launch contest, sweepstakes or give-away may NOT be for

Podcasts don't need any more iTunes reviews, social proof or email list growth

There are many established podcasts out there that already have a sizeable following and lots of reviews.

For such popular podcasts, this podcast launch contest strategy may not be worth the investment.

Experienced Facebook and Contest Marketers

For podcasters who have experience with Facebook campaigns, A/B testing and conversion optimization, a collaborative contest management program may not be necessary - they might prefer to set this up themselves

Experimenters with Time and Money On Hand

If you are the type of person who wants to learn from your own mistakes, and don't mind the time and money that are needed for this, hiring someone to run this contest strategy for you would not make sense.  

To summarize, a collaborative podcast launch contest & program is right for you if:

Who is this for

  • People who want an effective "done for you" podcast review contest & launch campaign
  • People who want to partner with the best
  • Podcasters who see their podcast strategy as part of their business
  • People who like collaboration, masterminds and are willing to be coached

Who is this not for

  • Podcasters who don't need more reviews, subscribers or an email list
  • Podcasters who have experience and success with promoting contest on Facebook
  • Podcasters who have enough time and money to experiment with setting up a contest from scratch
  • Podcasters who prefer a DIY approach to collaborating with others

Chapter 8

Our collaborative programs for launching podcast social contests

Are you a "Do it Yourself" podcaster just looking for support, or a "Done For You" podcaster or business who wants to partner with your podcast contest launch?

Choose below:

Do It Yourself

PDF Guide



Download this guide as a PDF reminder, and receive additional podcast contest promotion tips via email

What you get

  • PDF Guide
  • Additional tips and articles
  •  Invite to our Facebook Group

Do It Yourself + Workshop

2 Hour Workshop



One-on-one strategy workshop to determine the best DIY podcast launch contest strategy, prizes and promotions for your podcast launch

What you get

  • 2 Hour Video Online Workshop
  • Contest roadmap
  • Help with contest setup
  • Brainstorm prize selection
  • Integration help for you email list
  • Integration help for your website
  • Help with contest tools
  • Facebook Ad Campaign Playbook
  • Facebook Audience Targeting 
  • PDF Guide
  • Tips and articles
  • Invite to our Facebook Group

Done For You





Simple, fast and effective launch contest setup for the DIY podcaster who want to run a 1 week iTunes review campaign

Core Contest Features

  • Contest Setup & Management
  • Contest Landing Page
  • Up to 4 ways to enter contest *
  • Verified iTunes Review Entry
  • Custom  Contest Graphics
  • Single Prize / Drawing
  • Contest planning session
  • 1 Week Duration

Contest Promotion Campaign

  • Not Included

* iTunes review, Facebook Page Like, Verified Twitter Follow, Verified #hashtag Tweet

EXISTING CIENTS: Ask about our discount code!

Done For You





Fully "done for you" contest management PLUS professional Facebook campaign contest promotion for up to 8 weeks

All Features From Core Package, Plus

  • Up to 20 ways to enter contest **
  • 8 Prizes / Drawings
  • 3 Planning & review sessions
  • 8 Weeks Duration

Contest Promotion

Professional Facebook Ad Campaign

  • Facebook Ad Account Setup
  • Facebook Ad Campaign Creation
  • Ongoing Campaign Optimization
  • A/B Testing Ad Groups
  • 5 Rotating Creatives
  • Advanced Facebook targeting for your ideal podcast audience
  • Geotargeting local users if desired
  • Note: Does not include FB ad spend

* iTunes review, Subscribe to Podcast Via Email, Viral Friends Referral, Facebook Page Like, Verified Twitter Follow, Verified #hashtag Tweet, Twitter RT, Bonus for completion, plus custom entry options for each client.

EXISTING CIENTS: Ask about our discount code!


Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Do I need to sign up for a contest platform?

Do I need a monthly subscription?

What happens after I sign up?

Are you paying for my Facebook Ads?

Is this how I should spend my marketing budget?

What if I don't have a Facebook Ad Manager Account?

Can you guarantee the # of reviews I can expect?

Could not find the answer to your question?