(By Hall-of-Famer Dave Jackson) You asked your Mom how she liked your podcast. She said, “It was awesome.” You received similar answers from your Brother, Dad, and your best friend. You’re starting to get the feeling you’re not getting honest answers. How am I going to get better if I can get some feedback? Here are some thoughts…
When in doubt, ask your audience. After all, these are the people you want to engage. You want your target audience’s opinion. I do a show with Erik K Johnson called the Podcast Review Show (podcastreviewshow.com) where we go over your podcast, your website, and your goals for your show. We reviewed a show about Toy Electric Trains. I never had one growing up, and some of the content put me to sleep. Erik had trains growing up and loved it. While you can get opinions from anyone, the opinions you really want is from your target audience. Keep in mind, I’m not talking about reviewing your show in Apple Podcasts. I’m talking about starting a dialogue about your show.
I know some of you might say, “But I don’t have an audience yet.” You might look for a Facebook group where your target audience hangs out and state you are getting ready to start a podcast (or already have one) and you are looking for honest, constructive feedback. State something like, “I’m looking for someone to listen to my show and then talk about it like I’m not in the room. I have thick skin and can take negative comments. I’m just looking for feedback. If you’re interested PM me.” DO NOT put a link to your show or episode as many Facebook groups have rules against spam and self-promotion (hence why I suggest you have people PM you). If you have a newsletter, send out a message with a link to an episode.
If you try that and get no interest, take an episode that you recorded and put some time between you and the recording (at least a week (preferably much more), you want to hear it with as “fresh” a perspective as you can). While you are listening try a couple of these things
- Stop at the 1-minute mark and ask, “Do I know what to expect in this show?” The reason I say this is nobody gets on a bus without knowing where it’s going.
- Stop at the three-minute mark (and some would say sooner – way sooner) if you’re not into a topic and are still doing “chit chat” you might want to consider some editing. If it is chit chat, is this a funny story everyone -not just you and your co-host find HILLARIOUS
- Listen through ears buds or in a car the same way your audience would. Can you hear everything OK? Did you have to adjust the volume mid-episode (that’s bad)?
- How are your crutch words (Um, Ya know, So, etc) there may be a few, but if there are enough to be distracting that can be a problem.
- Does your title accurately reflect what is in this episode?
- Do you have advertising, get a timer (your phone) and check how long your ad was. Many times we end up recording what is supposed to be a 30-second ad that runs two minutes.
- Check your show notes for typos. Do you have links to everything mentioned?
Special Air Check For Interviewers
- Write down why you brought on a guest. What are their strengths? What do you hope to get out of the guest? What takeaways? (You’’ need this later)
- Write down each question and summarize the answer. Did this exchange bring value to your audience? Repeat for each question. It might look like this:
|“Tell me a little bit about yourself…”||Provided entire life story starting with their childhood|
- As you listen to the interview, do you find yourself thinking of questions you wished you had asked but didn’t? Did you miss an opportunity for a follow question?
- Did you promote the guest’s website/products/services? If so, was it enough, too much, too little?
- How were your replies to the answers? Was there a lot of “Me too!” as we don’t really need you repeating what the guest just said. We heard it the first time.
- Looking at why you brought the guest on, did you achieve what you set out to do? Did you get the expected takeaways? If so, what did you do to get to those answers? If not, what do you feel you could do differently next time.
Seeing the questions you asked in print can really shed some light on your interview technique. It also enables you to see each question/answer for what its worth. The visual aspect of this can be very helpful.
- What do you think you did well in this episode?
- What was the best take away? ( maybe turn that into a social media post)
- What lessons can be learned from this episode?
- How was your call to action? Did you have ONE or twelve?
While a self-evaluation is hard to do (and just not as good as getting someone else’s opinion). If you do find yourself face to face with an actual listener, THIS IS HUGE. Ask them what they like (and they will tell you). Then ask you what they dislike (and often they will say nothing). Explain that you have thick skin and can take it, and then shut up. The awkward silence might nudge them to give you a pointer or two. If you really want to give them a “Safe” environment, when they start to give you notes state, “Do you care if I write this down?” and jot it down on paper or in your phone. This shows the person their opinion is important and might lead to more feedback.
Lastly, don’t get defensive and start explaining why you do something. JUST LISTEN and thank them for their feedback. Keep in mind, you are 100% in control and what you do with this feedback is entirely up to you.
Here are some resources:
If you know of others leave them in the comments below. As you might imagine if you Google the words podcast and reviews you get tons of articles about how to get reviews in Apple (which do nothing but provide social proof – they do not advance you up the charts or help you be found).
Dave Jackson is a Hall of Fame podcaster and consultant. He started the School of Podcasting in 2005 and potentially has helped more podcasters with their podcast than any other human on the planet. Find him at www.schoolofpodcasting.com.