Who doesn’t like a good pat on the back for a job well done? All of us need a little affirmation from time to time. But did you know getting ratings and reviews for your podcast can help in more ways than just giving you a friendly boost of encouragement?
Reviews provide social proof that listeners are engaging with your content. They provide credibility for new listeners who rely on them to decide if your show is worth their time or not, and they even help increase your ranking. That’s why so many podcasters are always hungry for more reviews.
We know that platforms like Apple rely on ratings and reviews to help boost ranking. Ratings are important because they indicate quality. Podcasts with lots of four and five star ratings mean that the content is good and valuable for a listener. Podcasts with no ratings are unproven. Reviews are important because they reflect listener satisfaction.
Some podcast apps weigh ratings and reviews heavier than others. For example, Castbox uses the comments and ratings to determine what goes into their “Top Show” section. Advertisers also use ratings and reviews to determine the visibility and effectiveness of your podcast and how much reach your show could potentially have. Very few podcasts have a lot of ratings and reviews, unless you’ve got a lot of A-list guests, so getting some quality reviews could potentially help catapult your show into some higher rankings.
Here’s some ways we’ve found that could help you give that extra little nudge to your listeners to contribute their coveted two-cents.
- Ask them
Your listeners are your biggest advocates, but people are busy these days and they forget, especially when it’s not top of mind for them. That’s why a gentle reminder never hurts. Ask for a review in each episode. Some podcaters will put this in the intro of the episode, but you’re better off doing at the end. You don’t want a new listener’s first impression of your show to be negative because you’re asking them to do something right up front. Chances are if they’re sticking around for the whole episode, they’ll be more willing to leave their feedback at the end.
Be transparent and ask for an honest review. It’s OK if they leave a 4 star review. Sometimes people pay more attention to those reviews than the 5 star ones.
Remember, people want authenticity. They want to know that you care and you want to keep creating content that’s important to them. Remind them that when they leave a review, it’s a quick, low commitment way for them to show their support and provide encouragement.
- Add a call to action to your show notes, blog and website
Make this a recurring bullet in your show notes for every episode where you add a link that will take a listener directly to where they can leave a review.
The same applies to other pages on your site like your blog or anywhere else you reference your podcast. Maybe you can even feature reviews from other listeners to add some validity to your podcast page.
If you’re using the free version of Fusebox I would encourage you to check out the pro version to be able to customize the player to add the call to actions you want your listeners to take, like leaving a review, signing up for a newsletter and giving access to your social pages.
- Put it in your newsletter
If you’re using a newsletter to communicate to your listeners about your podcast updates (which you should be), this is another great place to add a quick, consistent reminder about leaving a review.
You could even dedicate a section in the newsletter to highlight a review of the week or a listener spotlight to let your subscribers know that you are appreciative of them and that you’re actually reading the reviews that get posted.
- Leverage your social media
Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin all have their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to promoting content, but dedicating some posts specifically to asking for reviews on a regular basis could be very beneficial. It also helps stress the importance of why you need their help and the small part they can play by contributing a review.
Don’t flood your posts with review reminders, but instead take time to reply to comments, engage with the folks that are saying positive things and be selective as to how and when you ask someone for their feedback. You’re building community so you want to be intentional about engaging with the people that are really interested in what you have to say so it makes it easier and less awkward when you do ask them for help.
If you have dedicated communities set up on Facebook and Linkedin, send out a monthly reminder to the group to leave a review and ask them to forward the podcast to anybody they think would be interested.
- Give a shout-out
Want a fun way to add another personal element to your show and encourage reviews? Give a shout out to a reviewer and thank them for your feedback. Carve out a few minutes on your episode, most likely at the end, to give some props to a listener and invite others to leave a review as well. This will make your listeners feel like they are really a part of your show and the hope that they can possibly get a bit of recognition on the air.
- Ask Your Guests
A little help from your valued guests can go a long way. Remember to ask them to leave a review for your show and in turn you will do the same for them on their podcast. Each of your guests have their own following, so a positive endorsement from them to their audience can potentially grow your listening audience and create some much needed buzz.
- Create an incentive to reach a goal
If you can’t get your audience to provide a review on their own, nothing works better than a little incentive. Now, you don’t want to bribe them to give you a five star review, but maybe you can offer a reward that will get them excited if they can help you reach a certain number of reviews? Maybe this is a bonus episode, a special guest, anything you think your listeners will find exciting and motivating.
- Host a Contest
A competition can be a great way to encourage listeners to leave reviews. Create a deadline for people to submit a review and when they do, they can be entered to receive a nice prize. This can be done by simply telling them to take a screenshot of their review and then email it to you so you can keep track of the entries and make it fair.
Decide how long you want the contest to run and then make plans to announce the winner at the end of a show to help build anticipation and excitement. Your prize doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or expensive either. Create a t-shirt or some kind of swag that ties into your show and make sure you cover the cost of shipping for the winner(s).
This could turn into an ongoing promotion depending on how much participation you get on the first try and you’ll be helping boost confidence and hopefully your ranking by getting solid reviews from people that are already enjoying your show.
Reviews aren’t just an ego boost, but they do provide some satisfaction and encouragement that you’re doing something right. But remember to have some patience. You’re not going to get a ton of reviews overnight, but keep pressing forward and continue to create something amazing that reviews just become an added bonus. Put yourself in the shoes of your listener and continually ask yourself, “what would it take to get you to care enough about this show that you would want to voice your opinion in a positive way to others?”
There’s some good social proof.