I listen to many, many hours of podcast content each week. And honestly, I don’t watch that much television. But when I heard the hype around Netflix’s ‘Squid Game,’ I gave it a try and truly did not leave my couch for hours on end. It was captivating. Gross. Resonant. Beautiful. And heartbreaking.

When I logged onto Twitter on Monday, I expected to see some viral tweets about the series, memes of the green jackets, and other cultural zeitgeist-y stuff. What I didn’t expect was to see that a ‘Squid Game’ podcast had already popped up, with a social media presence, beautiful branding, and a queue of watch-along episodes to devour.

Enter ‘Player 456: A Squid Game Podcast.’

I had to learn more about how the hosts of this show kicked themselves into gear so quickly. I reached out to Jack and Colin, the founders of Quite The Thing Media, and the hosts of ‘Player 456.’

Here’s our conversation:

Arielle Nissenblatt: Tell me about the podcast.

Jack and Colin: Player 456: A Squid Game Podcast is the UK’s first Squid Game podcast from Quite The Thing Media. Obviously, we are unaffiliated with the Netflix smash-hit of 2021 but decided to take a deep-dive into the nine episodes of Squid Game’s first season. We are not TV experts by any stretch of the imagination, but we both loved the show and have plenty of questions, queries, and theories.

AN: Why did you start the podcast when you did?J&C: Jack did not watch ‘Squid Game’ until early October 2021 after a recommendation from Colin. It had first arrived on our screens a month or so earlier. After watching the full series in one sitting, Jack wanted to know more about the show and searched for a ‘Squid Game’ podcast. There were a multitude of podcasts covering the series in single episodes, but only one Australian podcast specifically about the show (and this only had a single 8-minute episode). This was a real surprise to us, and being podcast producers on our network, we decided to get our new show out there as soon as we could. We use Captivate as a host and as they allow multiple RSS feeds on all their plans. We got our 30-second trailer out and into all the places you’d want your show within a day or two of the concept.

AN: ‘Thoughts on Squid Game?’J&C: We were drawn in and hooked on the show within minutes. The director and writer, Hwang Dong-hyuk, uses brilliant character building techniques from the off to rapidly get you onside with the main protagonist, Seong Gi-hun, while also showing his flaws.

AN: How does the show fit into Quite the Thing Media’s overall slate of podcasts?J&C: Quite The Thing Media is based in Scotland and was started to shine a light on well-produced independent podcasts that we personally enjoyed and wanted to see succeed. We ran our independent podcast awards (which SquadCast kindly sponsored) to further try and draw attention to great independent podcasts, while also offering real social proof.

At the moment, we also produce six original podcasts (all with Scottish hosts) and want to be known as the network that creates “podcasts that speak to you.” We don’t just want a raft of shows. We want our hosts to be interactive and create community alongside great content. ‘Player 456’ is no different. We love our listener email section and have already managed to build a small community of 456ers that ask questions or give their ‘Squid Game’ theories, that we try to cover every episode.

AN: What are your top tips for podcasters on ranking and discoverability

J&C: We were lucky that when you searched ‘Squid Game’ in podcast directories, there was only the single show we mentioned earlier. So, we made sure that was in the podcast title and also in the description, twice – one before the fold (within the first 100 or so characters) and later in the description too. Within a day of releasing the trailer, we were searchable and discoverable for the term “Squid Game” (as first result in most places).

As mentioned, we use Captivate, and their network features meant we could put our trailer in front of people that know us from our other shows (Wrong Term Memory & TUNES FM). This will have helped hugely as some of our listeners would follow and download the new show right away. We also put the first couple of episodes in these feeds as promotional/bonus content to increase followers and engagement at launch.
On the network site, we added a the show’s page (with the SEO keywords “Squid Game Podcast”) and again, were lucky, and managed to rank on page one of Google for the term within a couple of days – this will not be easy for many terms and we were lucky here to be perfectly honest…we are no SEO experts.

AN: What’s the long-term goal of the show? How long do you plan on releasing new episodes?

J&C: The long-term goal of the show is to be the go-to ‘Squid Game’ podcast for listeners looking for a deep-dive into a peak TV series. We are doing three 30-minute episodes for each of the nine episodes and will probably settle on a bi-weekly/weekly release schedule after the initial launch of six episodes in the first nine days. We may do bonus episodes in the future, between seasons, to keep listeners engaged and be ready to go for more deep-diving if, and when, a second season is announced.

AN: How can this show’s concept be applied to others in the future?J&C: The show’s concept is completely unoriginal — it’s a TV show review podcast. However, what I would suggest if you are looking to do a TV review show is check to see what is out there (you might be surprised), make sure the title is clear, and make good use of the description, especially before the fold.

Even try and get a jump on potential competition. If there is a new TV show coming out you’re sure you’re going to enjoy, try and get a simple trailer out on your RSS (even as a placeholder that you can redo if needed), so when people search for podcasts about the show after it launches, you are there front and centre.
AN: How does SquadCast fit into your production process?
J&C: We use SquadCast to record ‘Player 456’ before exporting the local wav files for editing. We have tried other remote recording solutions but find the sound quality here to be the best by quite some margin.