Feel like you don't get audience feedback? Struggling to engage listeners? This article will show you ways you can make it easy for your listeners to get in touch.
- You can craft a better call to action.
- Use a contact page on your website, with more than one contact method.
- Website tools such as dynamic embedded players or SpeakPipe also help.
- Social media polls encourage listeners to get in touch with you.
- Participate in communities that explore your podcast topic.
- Finally, always thank your listeners, specifically.
- Show your audience that you care, and they will reach out to you.
- Read on to find out more…
You're making great content, but your podcast listeners don't get in touch. You can see that someone's downloading the episodes. Somebody must be listening. But without feedback, you don't know if what you're doing is interesting. If it feels like your podcast doesn't engage listeners, it can be really discouraging.
Fear not, my friends! In this article, we're going to look at some ways you can convince your listeners to talk to you. There are many ways to ask for feedback, engage listeners, and generate word of mouth.
Call To Action
Does each of your episodes end with, or at least include, a call to action? Many people feel that they have to say the time-honored invocation, “subscribe, rate and review.” It's said so often in so many podcasts that it can lose meaning.
Apple Podcasts and Podchaser both have links for users to leave reviews. But, your listeners might subscribe via an app that doesn't make reviewing simple. In that case, asking them to leave a review means creating a new login, on a new service, and next thing you know, they're distracted. This doesn't engage listeners.
Be inventive with your CTA. In the podcast KwikBrain, host Jim Kwik uses the acronym “FAST” for his call to action. It stands for Facebook, Apply (or, Act on what you learn), Subscribe, and Teach (or, Tell a friend by sharing it on social media or reviewing). The call to action invites the listener to decode it. This way, the call to action sticks in their memory.
Being specific and asking questions encourages people to get in touch. For example, if your podcast is about cheesemaking, and you have an episode about curd packaging, ask a question in your call to action. “What did you think about our discussion of curd packaging? Do you prefer paper, plastic, or wax? Tell us more about your favorite method and why you like it!”
Keep it simple, regular, and easy, and your call to action will engage listeners.
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You should have more than one way for your audience to contact you. Unfortunately, if you reel off a list of social media outlets and handles like a cattle auctioneer, they won't remember or use them. A contact page on your web site is easier from them to remember, and you to control. Use the simplest possible URL, something like yourpodcastwebsite.com/contact.
Your contact page isn't just a form. Include your social media outlets, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Having an email address listed, even when you have a contact form, shows you care. A link to your media kit doesn't hurt. Make it easy for them to get in touch, on their own terms, and they'll give you honest feedback.
Embedded Players With Buttons
Your website design can automate some of the work. When you design your web site, use an embedded player that has a call to action button. The Smart Podcast Player has a button to join your email list. There are also links for social media and easy sharing. Simple Podcast Press is a plugin that includes a button to leave reviews. You can create custom buttons as well. Again, make it easy for your listeners to get in touch.
Let Them Talk
Embed a voice recording tool on your web site, and your audience can use it to communicate with you. All they have to do is hit record, talk, and then hit stop. The recordings you get will be spontaneous and immediate, which is pretty engaging. You should ask permission before you play them on the air, or make it abundantly clear that the recording isn't private.
A great new example of this kind of tool is Vox, by Telbee. You can customize the embedded recorder, and your audience can use it on mobile or desktop browsers. Vox transcribes the recording, making it easier to share with your team, or your listeners, in future episodes.
Speakpipe is an established tool that lets your audience leave voice messages for you. You can embed a button on your web site, or link to a personal SpeakPipe page. Marketing expert Seth Godin uses this on his Akimbo site, inviting his listeners to ask questions about the episodes.
Invite your audience to ask a question. It shows that you care what they think about your podcast. True, you may get some messages from trolls. But, the listeners who care will generate good word of mouth, because they feel valued. While we're on the topic of value…
Many podcasters take time to thank listeners individually. Spirits, for example, mentions the names of new Patreon supporters and people who contact them to share stories or ask questions. Not only does this show that they care about engaging listeners, it encourages support through Patreon. Using someone's name (properly, and not too many times) creates a culture of respect. Genuine, specific gratitude never gets old. You don't have to be effusive, just a sincere and quick acknowledgement will do.
It's very unlikely that you are the only person in the world who makes a podcast about your topic. Find other podcasts that are similar to yours, and listen to them. Then, post something positive on Twitter about the podcast. It's likely that this podcaster will re-tweet you, listen to your podcast, recommend your podcast, or all of the above. Instead of thinking of your podcast as a competitor in the race to be the best cheesemaking podcast, think of it as part of a community of cheesemaking podcasters. You're all working to make better cheese. This shows that you're accessible and open to contact with people who are interested in cheesemaking. Your listeners will be encouraged to get in touch. Now, obviously, substitute “cheesemaking” for your podcast topic.
Surveys to Engage Listeners
A survey is a great way to engage listeners. Post the survey with a simplified URL, and set a deadline for responses. Give yourself enough lead time that you can mention it on more than one episode. Offer an incentive for participation, like a downloadable PDF or a prize for a randomly selected participant, to get your listeners to take part in the survey. This way, when your listeners get in touch, they'll be giving you specific feedback you need, rather than a general, “I like it.”
This is a free, easy, and quick way to engage listeners. Twitter lets you create a simple poll in seconds. Posting a light-topic poll for your social media followers lets you interact in a playful way. Should your co-host never sing on the show again? Or sing in every episode? Should you get your hair cut this week, or after the next full moon? Discussing the results on a later episode engages listeners with a little reward for participation. Again, it shows you care what they think.
Answer the Call
When your listeners do get in touch, what do you do? Acknowledge them kindly. If they mention your podcast on social media, reply or re-tweet them. If they leave a particularly thoughtful review, take a screenshot and share it on social media. Show that when they get in touch with you, it means something.
Sometimes, you might get an irrational comment or review, something without kind intentions. Some podcasters ignore negative comments. Others screenshot them and post them on social media, to show invulnerability. The best practice is to take them with a grain of salt. You've got work to do making good content; don't get bogged down in Trollville.
Essentially, if you want your listeners to get in touch with you, make it easy. Use an embedded player with custom call to action buttons. It saves you a bit of work, and asking for input yourself shows appreciation. If you reach out in a positive way, and reward those who do likewise, you build community. Ultimately, the more you add value to your listeners' experience, the more likely you are to engage listeners.
Remember, just because you can't hear them listening, doesn't mean no one is. There are a lot of introverts in the podcast community. Most podcast listeners just listen and enjoy, and that's okay.
Need more ways to engage listeners? We've got all kinds of resources at The Podcast Host Academy. The courses, videos, downloadable resources and weekly live Q&A sessions will help you polish your podcast, and feel good about it.