July 14, 2024

How Serial Built a Successful Podcast from Scratch: Their Story and Strategies

If you’re a podcast fanatic like me, then you’ve most likely heard of the true-crime podcast ‘Serial’. What started out as an unknown podcast with no backing or marketing has now become one of the most successful podcasts in history. So how did they do it? In this article, we dive into the story and strategies that made Serial successful.

The Story

Serial was created in 2014 by Sarah Koenig and her team at This American Life. The podcast tells a true story over the course of a season, with each episode being released weekly. The first season of Serial focused on the case of Adnan Syed, who was convicted for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee.

What made Serial unique was Koenig’s storytelling style. She presented the case in a way that made the listener feel like they were a part of the investigation. The podcast was so captivating that it quickly gained a huge following and became a cultural phenomenon.

The Strategies

Great Storytelling

One of the main reasons for Serial’s success is their excellent storytelling. They know how to keep their listeners engaged and wanting more. They are able to take a complex story and make it easy for the listener to understand. Koenig’s storytelling abilities are world-class, and this is evident through the success of Serial.

Release Schedule

Serial’s strategy to release a new episode each week created anticipation and buzz around the podcast. Listeners would eagerly wait for the next episode to hear what happened next in the story. This release schedule helped to build a loyal following and made the podcast a constant topic of conversation on social media.


Serial’s marketing strategy was another factor in their success. They did not have the backing of a big network or sponsor, but instead relied on word-of-mouth. They strategically released snippets of the podcast that hinted at what was to come, creating buzz and making people want to listen to the full episode. This organic growth helped Serial to become one of the most successful podcasts in history.


Serial’s success story is proof that a podcast does not need a big name behind it to become successful. With great storytelling, a consistent release schedule, and effective marketing, anyone has the potential to create a successful podcast. If you’re thinking about starting a podcast, take inspiration from Serial and put your own unique spin on it. Who knows, you might just create the next cultural phenomenon.

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