How to build a profitable podcast.
Let us welcome our guest writer Eun Rockwell!
It is a fact that the opinion of others weighs more than our own. In social psychology, this phenomenon is called Social Proof or The Bandwagon Effect.
It basically means that we are heavily influenced by what other people think and do. That's why reviews can play a crucial role in shaping your podcast's overall perception - they make a significant impact on the final decision-making of potential new listeners.
It is also a fact that podcasts with more reviews tend to attract more and better listeners (and attract sponsors). This is because:
Now that you understand the power of having more reviews for your podcast, let's take a closer look at how to get more reviews.
We get it. Getting reviews is not easy in this day and age when everyone is constantly battling for attention. It takes effort, but it's worth it in the long run. We've put together some actionable tactics that worked for us or other podcasters we know to help you get your first podcast reviews.
The strategies below are grouped by order of effectiveness. Use what works best for you and feel free to discard others.
1. Testimonials/Reviews from Happy Listeners
This one is almost too obvious, but still very important. The most authentic way to boost your review numbers is by getting people who listen to your show to say they like it (and why). A testimonial will be much more valuable than anything else - after all, if someone is investing their time to listen to your show, the least they can do is throw you a word of appreciation.
Your testimonials are also valuable for new listeners researching your podcast before deciding whether or not they should subscribe to it—especially when it’s on sensitive niches like educational podcasts where one wouldn’t want to consume any misleading information; a testimonial will play a crucial role in that decision-making process. Testimonials/reviews are compelling, so don't be shy about asking for them even if someone says they enjoyed listening to your show (and even if it's in person!).
2. Social Proof - Number of Downloads or Listeners per Episode
You can include this information in the show notes. If you don't have it yet, you might want to ask for it from your listeners when they contact you with feedback. They'll probably be happy to share. Social Proof works best when it comes with a high number of downloads or listeners compared to most other podcasts in that category.
It just makes you sound more popular and credible. That said; an audience of 100 people listening every week will do wonders for your social proof than an audience of 1000 people who listen once every two weeks.
3. Get Honest Reviews from Influencers in Your Niche
This tactic works best for podcasts targeted at niche audiences or new to the industry. For example, if your podcast is all about dog health and you have a small audience yet, try reaching out to influencers (e.g., veterinarians) who might talk about your show with their listeners and contribute a review of it as well.
The key here is finding people who can potentially reach an audience similar to yours but not directly competing with you (so learn how many downloads they get per episode before proposing something). Also, very importantly: make sure their reviews will be legit. This means making sure they're actually listening to the show and their review will be honest. There's nothing worse than getting a bad review from someone you know didn't even listen to your show.
4. Ask for Reviews from Your Listeners when They Contact You with Feedback
Some people who love what they hear may want to share it with other people in real life but don't know-how. Some of them might also have never left a review before. Ask them if they found a helpful episode or entertaining and encourage them to leave a 5-star rating and a short review on the platform your podcast is available on. It can seem scary at first, but honestly, most listeners will probably find it flattering that you're asking them for feedback, and they'll be happy to help.
5. Ask for Reviews from Your Listeners after They Finish the Whole Season or a Certain Episode
This is a little more aggressive tactic, but it's proven to work. Whenever someone finishes listening to a whole season or a whole episode, ask them if they liked what they heard and if they have any suggestions on how you could improve your podcast.
Then, after people respond with their feedback, share other ways in which other people can support your show -such as leaving a review of the podcasts. You can also add something like, "If you want to make this easier for me, I'd really appreciate it if you'd take 3 minutes of your time to go there and leave an honest review" in your message.
6. Announce when People are Leaving Reviews for Your Podcast
The beauty of this tactic is in its simplicity! Whenever someone leaves a review, thank them in the show notes or even in the episode itself. Ideally, if they were nice enough to leave an honest review about their experience listening to your podcast, it's only fair that you tell everyone else what you appreciate so much about their feedback.
Additionally, if they're leaving a great review (3-5 star rating); maybe give them some social media shoutouts on Twitter and Facebook. This tactic works best once you reach out to influencers like marketers or web hosts who may never have heard of you before but happen to be looking for new podcasts on similar topics to yours or who may notice your show in the "New & Noteworthy" section on iTunes.
7. Set up Reminders for Yourself
Sometimes, all it takes is a little reminder (or nudge) that you need to ask for reviews from past listeners or offer the same service to people already supporting your podcast. The easiest way to do this is by setting up automated email reminders using platforms like Zapier or If This Then That (IFTTT).
These platforms allow you to create automated tasks based on certain triggers, such as sending an email whenever someone leaves a review. You can also automate emails depending on how much time has passed since someone subscribed, e.g., after three weeks of someone becoming a subscriber, send out an automated email asking them to leave a review or share your podcast with their friends. You can also send an email after someone releases their first episode saying you like what they've done and encouraging them to reach out if they need anything.
8. Continuously Promote Your Presence on Social Media Sites
Marketing yourself is essential, not just when it comes to promoting your podcast but also to promote the services that your podcast offers (e.g., checking out my website where I talk about how to launch a show successfully). This includes social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.
Make sure you post an update at least once every day, so people who follow you know exactly what's going on with your podcast. You can also create an email list for people who don't want to miss out on any updates and promote this whenever you release a new episode. You can do all of this by including links to these sites in your show notes (episode's description), mentioning them during your episodes, or even adding social media icons like Facebook's "Like" or Twitter's "Tweet This" right into your blog posts!
9. Respond to Every Feedback Positively
Whether it is praise about something you've done well or constructive criticism, make sure that if someone contacts you with feedback, you thank them for reaching out and listen carefully to everything they have to say (if possible). Even if their response isn't positive but points out an issue, thank them and tell them if they ever want to continue the discussion or offer suggestions on improving the podcast to create a better experience for their future listeners that you'd love to hear from them.
10. Reach Out to Your Influencers (and Listen to Them)
Because having influencers promote your podcast is such a great way to boost its reach and get more reviews, you want people who already have established platforms and lots of people following them. People like marketers or even web hosts like bCast might be interested in what kind of podcasts are out there and what's good at the moment and would therefore be willing to listen and possibly also give feedback about your show. Setting up meetings with these influencers is just as important as taking notes during your conversations with them.
Getting podcast reviews for your show may be a bit of a challenge, but if you are persistent enough, it'll be worth the long-term benefits. Sure, having these reviews will not make or break your podcast, but they can help in many small ways that will eventually add up to something greater - more listeners who love your work and want more.