Collecting reviews and ratings is an important aspect of podcasting. Reviews and ratings are like the digital currency of the internet. Whether you’re deciding on which film to see at the cinema, or you’re picking out a new can opener (speaking from recent experience), reviews can be very impactful in swaying a customer or listener’s decision.
In this post, you’ll find out why podcast reviews matter and learn how to get more podcast reviews so that you can grow your podcast faster.
Why Do Podcast Reviews Matter?
Podcast reviews and ratings are an often overlooked aspect of podcasting. They’re not so front and centre as a review on a retail website like Amazon, for example. They’re localised to each platform too (Spotify, Apple Podcasts etc.). And when there are successful podcasts out there with next to no reviews – is it really worth bothering with them?
Well, in today’s podcasting landscape, we need all the help we can get. Here are a few reasons why you should consider collecting ratings and reviews for your podcast:
1. Visibility and Discoverability
Podcast platforms (Spotify, Apple Podcasts etc.) use reviews and ratings as a ranking factor. The more positive reviews your podcast has, the more likely it will be to appear in search results and recommendation algorithms, making it easier for new listeners to discover your show.
2. Credibility and Trust
Positive reviews give potential listeners a reason to click. When people see others enjoying your content, they are more likely to give your podcast a chance. Yes, many listeners will listen anyway based on a recommendation or other factors like the title or cover art. But having positive reviews gives listeners one more reason to show interest. Especially for those more reluctant to take a leap on a new podcast.
3. Feedback and Improvement
Feedback is essential when it comes to shaping your podcast to suit your ideal listener. Reviews can give you that feedback. Constructive criticism can help you refine your content, and praise helps to keep you motivated.
We all want to be told that we’re doing a good job! And reviews give us a way of breaking down the barrier between podcaster and listener.
4. Attracting Sponsors
If you plan to monetise your podcast with ads, having a solid base of reviews can make your show more attractive to potential sponsors. It shows that your listener base is engaged, and gives the impression that your podcast is more established.
The Biggest Challenges With Podcast Reviews
While podcast reviews are a great tool for growing your podcast, they do come with challenges. Here are the main ones:
1. Negative Reviews
This is the big one. The one that keeps a lot of podcasters from asking for reviews at all. Getting a bad review can be disheartening and it can taint your overall review score. If you’re asking for reviews in the right way, though (more on that later), it’ll help reduce the chance of getting a negative review. And usually, they’re in the minority.
Also, if something about my podcast was turning listeners off, I’d rather know what it was so that I could fix it.
2. Tracking Reviews
Podcast reviews are hard to keep track of because they’re independent of each platform. And some platforms don’t allow written reviews – just 1 to 5-star ratings.
For example, you could have four 5-star ratings and two 3-star ratings on Spotify, but only two 4-star reviews on Apple Podcasts – and they’d be from completely different people.
Services like Podrover let you conveniently track reviews across multiple platforms, but they come with a price.
3. Review Authenticity
There’s a risk of bad reviews left by competitors, although this is more of a reason to collect genuine ones from happy listeners.
4. Time and Effort
Encouraging listeners to leave reviews and engaging with reviewers adds another task to your podcast process. And it’s difficult enough to stay consistent with releases.
There’s only so much you can do though – as always, the most important thing is that you’re getting content out there. And there are ways to streamline things while ensuring the reviews you get are high-quality and genuine…
How to Get More Podcast Reviews
Now that we’ve explored the importance and the challenges of podcast reviews, let’s dive into some proven methods of how to get more podcast reviews and ratings.
1. Ask as a Call to Action (CTA)
Each episode of your podcast should include a call to action (CTA). It should be the one, specific action that you want them to take that will bring you closer to your goals.
If you have no or very few ratings/reviews, ask listeners to leave a rating/review in your CTA. You can incorporate this into your pre-recorded outro to save you time and so you don’t forget.
It could sound something like this – “…if you enjoyed this episode, please leave a rating and review in your favourite podcast app.” Simply asking goes a long way.
2. Engage on Social Media
Interact with your audience on social media platforms. If you post clips from your episodes on social media, you’ll likely pick up some comments from those who’ve clicked through and listened. Reply to those comments and politely ask if they would be willing to leave a review.
Or better yet, send them a DM with a short, personalised video thanking them for listening and linking them to where they can leave a rating/review.
3. Offer Incentives
You can offer your listeners something in exchange for leaving a review. Something as simple as offering to read out reviews on your podcast can go a long way. People like to feel special.
Or, if you have the budget, you can enter reviewers into a competition for a reward. A gift card or merch, for example. Just be sure that any incentives you offer don’t breach any terms of the podcast platforms.
4. Avoid “Review for Review”
While it might be tempting to get involved with “review for review” schemes you’ll come across in podcaster groups (where podcasters review each other’s podcasts), it’s not recommended.
Not only are they not genuine reviews, they can trigger the algorithms that the podcast platforms use and your show could be kicked from the platform. Definitely NOT worth a few reviews if your show is removed…
Rate and Review!
Podcast reviews are another important aspect of growing your podcast’s reach and profile. They come with challenges, and they’re by no means the be-all and end-all of your podcast. But they’re definitely worth paying attention to.
You now know how to get more podcast reviews and ratings, potentially giving you an edge over podcasts that have none. We also covered some of the pitfalls to avoid.
Best of luck in collecting some reviews and ratings!