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Using Listener Feedback to Improve Your Branded Podcast

Listening to audience feedback can be the step that sets you apart from the competition. Check out how to use it to its fullest. 


By: Laurissa Cebryk

If your podcast is missing its mark, trust us when we say — You’ll know. How? Your audience will tell you. While they may not always say it with words, there are plenty of things you can look for that let you know you’re on the wrong track with your branded podcast. 

Here’s how to use listener feedback to improve your branded podcast and ensure you hit your KPIs and podcast goals. 


Read Reviews

The first and most obvious way to get listener feedback is by reading the reviews they leave. It’s shocking, but a lot of podcasters make the mistake of writing off bad reviews. In reality, they can be a treasure trove of small fixes and ways to elevate your show and hit the mark for your audience. 

Ask for reviews and ratings, and then pay attention to what they say. Your audience will literally tell you what they want, and you can glean important information about them, such as their values and interests, new trends they’re interested in, where your show resonates, and where your content is a complete miss. 


Look For Drop-Offs

The actual listening data and analysis is another way your audience communicates what they think about your show. It takes a bit more digging and critical thought but can be an exceptional tool for improving your podcast. 

Podcasters often make the mistake of looking for downloads to consider their show a success. Here’s the truth: Downloads do not equate success. A better KPI to look for is play time. Did your listener make it through the entire show? If not, where did you lose them? 

A drop-off in plays could indicate a number of things and is a big window of opportunity for improvement. Check for: 

  • Value in the content
  • Audio quality
  • Guest introductions
  • Show length
  • Etc. 

Whatever is happening at that drop-off will be a helpful sign of what you need to improve on. 


Conduct Surveys

It sounds silly, but if you want feedback or to know about your audience, ask. We often overlook the simplicity of asking our audience about what they care about, what they want to hear, and whether or not they think your show is a good match for them. Surveys are a great way to let them know you care and are making the show for them (instead of your brand), create engagement, and guarantee you’re hearing what you need to do straight from the horse’s mouth. 

Tip: Ask concrete questions such as, “What are two things you like about the show?” “What is one topic you’d like to hear us tackle next?”


Engage in Different ways

You don’t have to follow the rules for asking for feedback. Try engaging in different ways! It will help with your brand recognition and creativity and also make your audience more inclined to respond. For example, we started a voicemail option for some of our shows! Listeners could call in with their feedback and even have a chance to hear their voice on one of the episodes. 


Make Sure They Can Reach You

Podcasts are an intimate and creative format. Your audience will feel like they’ve stepped into your inner circle and are part of something. Don’t ruin that for them by being untouchable or out of reach. Leave options for calling in or emailing. 


Do You Know Your Target?

If you do all of the above and are still missing the mark, it could be that you don’t really know who your audience is or where you should be channeling your efforts. Ask these critical questions to ensure you’re reaching the right ears:

  • How old are they?
  • Where do they live? 
  • Where do they work and play? 
  • What do they care about? 
  • What conversations are important to them? 

Even basic questions will help guide your podcast. From there, stay on top of trends for your audience and learn about their journey. When you know your audience’s journey, you’ll better understand how to shape the show and where to place your marketing efforts as well. The key to making any show work is to know who your audience is and what they want, so do that groundwork first.

Think you’ve mastered the art of listening to your audience? Think again! Here are some more tips from our CEO, Roger Nairn.

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