Podcast reviews are important pieces of feedback you’ll receive on the platforms you choose to publish your show on, including Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes), Stitcher, and YouTube. They’re public forums listeners can use to rate and give their opinions on the shows they listen to.
We’re going to cover a few different methods you can use to get more podcast reviews. First, let’s talk about why getting more reviews is important as well as what you can do to help your show succeed.
Why are Podcast Reviews Important?
Audience feedback has always controlled what gets noticed in pop culture. Record labels drop music artist’s albums that don’t sell. TV shows get cancelled if they don’t attract enough viewers. Digital forms of entertainment are no different.
You can cut out the gatekeepers, meaning radio stations and TV networks, that act as barriers on your road to success when you launch a podcast. Unfortunately, it still doesn’t change the fact that platforms like Apple Podcasts and Stitcher are controlled by algorithms similar to the ratings systems that control the TV shows, movies, songs, and books that make it into the mainstream.
Apple Podcasts, arguably the largest platform that exists for podcasts, incorporates ratings and reviews in its overall ranking algorithm. If you don’t receive enough positive reviews and episode downloads on a frequent basis, you’ll have a hard time keeping your rankings high. That in-turn means you’re unlikely to be featured on their platform, or recommended in searches and their recommendations.
Podcast reviews also play an important role in social proof. Consumers use reviews to gauge the quality of businesses, products, and services, and podcasts are no different. You’ll scare away a lot of potential listeners if your average star rating is too low.
You can read more about the impact online reviews have in our post on how online reviews can hurt your business.
What Does Your Podcast Need to Succeed?
There are a number of different methods you can use to grow the number of reviews your podcast receives, but you can also do quite a few things along the way to help listeners find your show and encourage them to leave reviews.
It starts with a few things that should have been determined before you even launched your podcast. These are things like knowing who your audience and ideal listener are, as well as knowing which categories to use on Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes). It’s best to choose categories that are related to your niche but aren’t too competitive.
Audio quality is important as well and should not be overlooked. If potential listeners hear background noise, muffled sounds, buzzing, or similar auditory disturbances, they may not even make it through a few minutes of the first episode they listen to.
If you haven’t launched your podcast, yet, consider launching with a few episodes rather than one to give your first listeners the chance to “binge” your show and fall in love with it.
For subsequent episodes, be sure to pick a schedule and stick to it. You’ll earn more listeners and downloads if you publish more than one episode in a week, but don’t take on this challenge if you can’t produce quality shows that frequently or if you’re prone to burnout.
Try your best to build a following outside of your podcast through a blog, YouTube channel, or social media. This will attract more listeners to your show. Networking is important as well. Bringing on high-profile guests and being a guest on high-profile shows are among the most effective ways of growing a podcast.
8 Ways to Get More Podcast Reviews
Once you have your niche and categories picked out and are producing quality episodes on a consistent basis, you can start maximizing your success by earning more reviews.
Here are the methods we’ll be covering:
- Asking listeners at the end of every episode
- Asking your network
- Leveraging your email list
- Publishing a short episode on how to support your podcast
- Creating a “pretty” URL for your podcast review page
- Running a contest
- Asking listeners directly
- Reviewing other podcasts
1. Ask Listeners at the End of Every Episode
One of the most effective ways to get more reviews immediately starting with your next episode is to add a call to action at the end of every episode. Do it once the episode’s topic is over and before you start your closing words. Add it to your show notes as well.
It’s most effective to tell listeners to review your show on Apple Podcasts. You don’t need to instruct users to leave 5-star reviews, but you should point out how it’s a free and easy way to support the show.
You can even highlight past reviews by reading real feedback of your show in your call to action.
2. Ask Your Network
Another quick way to receive more reviews is to ask folks within your network. This can include friends and family members, but you can also ask fellow influencers and entrepreneurs to review your show on Apple Podcasts.
If you’re a guest on another podcast or have a guest on who also has a podcast, try reviewing their show instead of simply asking them to leave a review. Otherwise, send a short message to influencers in your network asking them if they’d be willing to leave podcast reviews.
3. Leverage Your Email List
Hopefully you have an email list and an autoresponder series to welcome new subscribers. If so, promote a different episode in each email, and briefly ask your subscriber to review your show after they listen to it.
If you have a blog and/or a YouTube channel, dedicate one email in your welcome autoresponder series to introducing your podcast to new subscribers. Promote your best episodes, and just like before, briefly ask them to leave their feedback on Apple Podcasts (aka iTunes).
If you already have an email list, promote new and past episodes via broadcast emails to your entire list and individual segments. Again, ask listeners to leave reviews after they listen.
4. Publish a Short on How to Support Your Podcast
You’ve heard of animation shorts. They’re animated films typically not much longer than 10 minutes. You can do the same with your podcast and use this shorter format for certain subjects, such as announcements.
One of these episodes could be titled “How to Support the Show” and focus on ways your listeners can help the show succeed in monetary and non-monetary ways. Leaving reviews should definitely be included on this list, and be sure to explain why they’re important.
You can also create a dedicated page on your website for the same purpose. Insert a podcast player featuring the episode on this page if you create both. Pat Flynn has an intuitive and aesthetically-pleasing podcast player WordPress plugin called the Smart Podcast Player if you need a way to showcase your podcast on your website.
5. Create a Pretty Link for Your Apple Podcasts Review Page
In an era where consumers have instant access to the products they want to purchase and the entertainment they want to enjoy, listeners are less likely to do things that take more than a few steps. Leaving reviews when prompted to is no different.
Give your listeners easy access to your reviews with an easy-to-use URL that leads directly to your Apple Podcasts review page. If you use WordPress, use a plugin called Pretty Links to create a custom link using your domain that redirects to your Apple Podcasts review page. Listeners will be able to use “yourdomain.com/review,” for example, instead of your Apple Podcasts URL.
If you don’t use WordPress, use a tool like Simple Podcast Press. You can also create a dedicated domain for your review page using your domain registrar and redirect it to your Apple Podcasts (iTunes) URL.
6. Run a Contest
Some listeners may need more incentive to review your show. You can truly light a fire under them by running a contest where the requirements are being subscribed to your show and leaving reviews on Apple Podcasts.
This can even be a way for you to receive new reviews on a regular basis if you pick a winner on a weekly or monthly basis.
7. Ask Listeners Directly
There will be times when you interact with your listeners one on one even if you don’t sell products or services. This may happen on social media, forums, your comment section or even email.
Don’t be afraid to ask listeners to review your show when these moments occur. Again, be sure to explain the importance of reviews and how they help the podcast.
8. Review Other Podcasts
This is an old trick bloggers still use today to try and get the attention of fellow bloggers and readers. As a podcaster, you can review other shows on Apple Podcasts to try and get the attention of larger podcasters and their listeners.
You can even ask them to listen to your show and provide feedback if you’re brave enough. This may be seen as a form of spam, however, so tread carefully.
Getting more podcast reviews involves attracting more listeners to your podcast and using some or all of the methods listed above to encourage them to leave reviews.
If you want to encourage more positive reviews, you can setup a funnel in Starfish Reviews and always link to the funnel when asking for reviews. That includes the “pretty link” in idea 5 above. Point those links to your funnel instead of directly to Apple Podcasts (or other podcast platform). In the near future you’ll also be able to use Starfish Reviews to import your reviews from Apple Podcasts and other Podcast platforms, then display them beautifully on your website!
As you receive more podcast reviews, it’s important not to forget how they can affect your business in the long run. We have a guide for businesses on how to develop a review marketing strategy. It involves monitoring your reviews, asking for them, and responding to positive and negative responses alike.