Will Blunt is the founder of Sidekick Digital by Will Blunt - B2B Marketing Expert - Sidekick Digital, a publishing business that launches, manages, and grows brands with content marketing.
Launching a podcast is a big undertaking.In fact, half of ALL podcasts have less than 14 episodes.That means that a majority of people start, don’t get traction, and give up.The day-to-day grind of finding guests, recording episodes, editing, publishing, and promoting is a lot of work with very little return on investment in the short term.Podcasting success is a long game and reserved for those that are patient and determined to continue showing up.Podcast reviews are a key ingredient for growing a popular podcast, but they aren’t easy to acquire. Most listeners don’t rate or review podcasts without an incentive.Running a podcast review giveaway can help you get more reviews and progress your podcast forward.But before we dive into how you can do that, let’s take a look at why.
Why You Need Podcast Reviews
For many podcasters, success is measured by advertising revenue. Which, for the most part, is determined by the number of downloads you get per episode.So why do reviews matter?Well, you may think that positive ratings and reviews help rank your podcast on Apple’s charts, which in turn exposes it to more people and increases the downloads. However, this theory is unproven.Numerous podcasts in Apple’s top 50 don’t have very many reviews or ratings. Without going too far off track, it’s believed that Apple’s podcasting charts are predominantly determined by daily new subscribers - not reviews.In saying that, podcast reviews have several other very important benefits:
- They provide social proof. Positive reviews of a podcast tell other potential listeners that you have a loyal following. As they’re scrolling through their podcast app looking for something to listen to, reviews are one component that will help them make a final decision. It’s like buying a pair of headphones from Amazon - reviews heavily influence consumer behavior. For example, here is a popular podcast called “Armchair Expert” with over a thousand ratings:
How podcast ratings show social proof
- They aid listener growth. Naturally, more people will listen to your podcast if it has positive reviews when they find it on a podcasting platform. However, reviews can also help you get more listeners when promoting your podcast on other platforms too. For example, you can use positive listener reviews to promote your podcast on social media or your website.
- They help acquire sponsors. If you’re looking to attract podcast sponsors, listener reviews help in the sales process. A brand is more likely to advertise on a podcast with an engaged audience, and reviews are one way of demonstrating engagement.
There are several knock-on benefits from getting podcast reviews, but these are the main ones.Now for the fun part...
How to Get More Podcast Reviews with a Giveaway
Giveaways are an effective technique for persuading action due to their in-built urgency and people’s natural desire to win. “Free” stuff also increases oxytocin levels and makes us feel happy.All of this in combination means that a well-constructed giveaway can help you get more podcast reviews.The overarching concept is simple; you’re offering a prize as the carrot for people leaving a review of your podcast. So rather than entering their email address or submitting a photo to enter, as is the case with many giveaways, all they need to do is leave a review on their podcasting platform of choice. The winner is then selected randomly from all reviews submitted in the period of the giveaway.Let’s look at a simple 3-step process for launching a podcast review giveaway:
Step 1 - Choose a prize
As with any giveaway, your first port of call is to determine the prize(s).For a podcast review giveaway, you want the prize to be good… but not too good!Why? Well, think about it. You’re collecting podcast reviews. While these are helpful in the pursuit of a successful podcast, they’re not as valuable to a business as the contact information a regular social media giveaway would collect.The trick to a successful podcast review giveaway is to find the sweet spot with your prize. A prize that is enticing for your listeners but doesn’t break the bank.Some examples of podcast review giveaway prizes include:
- An audiobook
- A discount coupon
- A free subscription
- Branded swag, such as a t-shirt or hoodie
As you can see, these prizes are low-cost but will hopefully be attractive to your listeners. At least attractive enough for them to place a review!The added benefit of offering low-cost prizes as an incentive is it allows you to run regular giveaways to bolster your reviews.
Step 2 - Create a landing page
Next, you’ll need a landing page. Even though you’re not collecting email addresses, a giveaway landing page is critical for providing all the relevant information to participants.On your giveaway landing page, you should:
- Describe the prize and why people should enter the giveaway.
- Explain the review process and make it easy for people to leave a review with direct links to the podcasting platforms.
- Include contest terms and conditions of entry.
- Encourage participants to share the giveaway on social media with sharing buttons.
Using one of ShortStack’s landing page templates will help make this process a whole lot easier. They have been designed based on years of performance data and testing, so it takes out the guesswork.
ShortStack's Giveaway Template[button size='medium' style='white' text='View and Create Your Own' icon='' icon_color='' link='http://m.shortstack.page/F0CVvf' target='_blank' color='' hover_color='' border_color='' hover_border_color='' background_color='' hover_background_color='' font_style='' font_weight='' text_align='' margin='0 0 10px']
Step 3 - Promote the giveaway
For optimal results, promoting your review giveaway is critical.An obvious place to start the promotion is on your podcast. Whether you want to create standalone ads to inform your listeners about the campaign or mention it during an episode is up to you. But your current listeners are the ones most likely to take up the offer of leaving a review.You also have past and future listeners who may be interested in the prizes you have on offer and are willing to leave a review of the show. To engage with these people, take a multi-channel approach to promote the giveaway. Share it on social media, send an email to your database, write a blog post about it, and even consider some remarketing ads to people who have previously engaged with your brand.Here’s an example of a Tweet promoting a podcast review giveaway from The Bystanders Podcast:
— The Bystanders Podcast (@Bystanders_Pod) June 1, 2021
The more people you get the giveaway in front of, the more podcast reviews you’ll get!
Podcasting has a wide range of benefits in the long term. On top of building trust with your customers, it opens up new revenue streams and is an excellent way to network with potential clients and influential figures in your industry.However, it’s not easy to get traction. As well as turning up every other day with great content, you may like to run a giveaway to get more podcast reviews. They’ll boost your show’s social proof, help get more listeners, and act as an incentive for sponsors.Good luck!
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