While some awards shows, like the Oscars, have stopped saying “the winner is,” at podcast awards shows like the Ambies, they still say you are a winner. And not just because you get a cool trophy to put on the side of your desk. Winning an award will help get your show in front of people who otherwise never would have heard it. And that, my friends, is what podcast promotion is all about.
From reams of industry research, we know that a majority of people find podcasts because their friends or family members tell them about it. For example, the Pew Research Centre found, “Not only do two-thirds of podcast listeners say they have recommended a podcast to someone else (67%), but six-in-ten have listened to a podcast that was recommended by a friend or family member, and about a third (36%) say they listen to at least one podcast that a friend or family member listens to.” Make something good and people will stay and recommend it to their friends. From my earlier blog post, we also know what an important role being featured in a podcast app can have on growing your audience.
So what does this have to do with winning awards? One of the featured lists you’ll see in Apple storefronts around the world these days: “Award Winning.”
Podcasts that win awards at Tribeca, Gracie, the Ambies and the Webbies are on the Apple US Podcast’s storefront right now. So besides the prestige, the hardware and the bragging rights, winning one of these awards will get you in front of a whole new audience too (though Apple placement is never a guarantee.) Winning an award can also be a seal of approval of sorts: the awards committee has declared that your show is a quality product. For podcasts especially, there are so many shows to choose from that it can be overwhelming for people to sort out what’s good or worth trying. Taking the word of an awards committee can help speed up the process of finding something new.
A handy list to get you started
With that in mind, here is list of podcast awards so you can mark your calendars and get your applications ready.
1/ The Ambies
ENTRIES: Open now
DEADLINE: November 17, 2023
Entries for this just opened and you can get early bird pricing until September 15. These awards have been given out by the Podcast Academy since 2021, and include awards for shows like Podcast of the Year, and in categories like news, history and tech. It also has talent categories for the work of hosts and writers. The Podcast Academy is also offering scholarships which include the first year of membership and a free awards submission to support applications from “BIPOC, LGBTQ+ communities, people with disabilities, immigrants, and others from disadvantaged backgrounds.” Plus, their award statue is wearing headphones and holding a microphone, how cool is that?
ENTIRES: Shortys open in November, Impact Awards are open now.
Cost: Up to $600USD
DEADLINE: Impact deadline is August 24
If you’ve read the above correctly, you’ll see the Impact deadline is in less than a week, so I’ll start there as we are running out of time! The Impact awards are “dedicated to honoring the most purposeful and impactful work organizations are doing to make the world a better place.” Mozilla’s IRL won under the podcast category in 2022. These awards are open to brands who make a positive difference with their content.
The Shorty Awards are handed out for making great digital and social content, so there are many categories to choose from. In case your podcast doesn’t fit into True Crime or Comedy bucket, there is one called “Other Genres” as catch-all for excellence (which Tell Me What Happened won last year).
3/ Webby Awards
ENTRIES: Opens Mid-September
The Webby Awards include two kinds of awards, one winner that is decided by a jury, and a “people’s voice award” which is voted on by the public. If you have a podcast, you’ve already got access to a built-in audience, so be sure to ask your them to vote for you when you make the short list. With 100+ categories, there is something for everyone (and every show.) The Webbys also hand out the Anthem Awards, which has a podcast category, and focuses on social good.
ENTRIES: Opens late 2023
DEADLINE: March 2024
Digiday has awards for Content Marketing, which includes a category for Best Branded Podcast, Media Awards, which includes a category for Best Podcast, and the Digiday Awards with a category for Best Audio Campaign. They have slightly different criteria and deadlines for each type of award, so be sure to check out the links above to make sure you don’t miss your chance.
DEADLINE: July, 2024
The Adweek Audio Awards have so many categories, you’ll likely find one (or two, or three) that is a perfect match for your podcast. Entries for this year just closed, so you’ll have a long lead time to figure out how best to compete for this one. Winners for 2023 will be announced in late October, so tune in and maybe you’ll find a new favourite podcast from their endorsement.
This list is just a place to start: you may also want to look into awards for the specific industry or category that fits with your production-The D Show, for example, is an advertising awards show based in Detroit. The Gracie Awards is sponsored by the Alliance for All Women in Media, and their picks highlight excellent work, “created for women, by women, and about women.” Why not try the Global Association of Applied Behavioural Scientists’ Annual Awards if that’s what your show is about? Professional organizations may give awards that would help you get more of their members into your audience.
Having an audience that loves your content? That makes you a real winner.
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