My Podcast Receives No Listener Feedback – Why?

Posted by By at 13 January, at 21 : 43 PM Print

My Podcast Receives No Listener Feedback – Why?

feedbackIf podcasting is the door to many opportunities where the hell is the key? A huge podcaster issue, a nightmare of sorts, is listener feedback and the lack of any to be found. If podcasting is the door, listener feedback is the metaphorical key to opening the door. Or, is it?

Podcasters track their downloads, watch for trends and do all they can to promote their show. That might be using SEO style techniques to get brand awareness in google to social networking with friends and strangers. If you google the keywords: gaming podcast you’ll notice my property: arrives near first if not right at the top (depends on the day). Was that a coincidence? No, not really. Now google drinking podcast and you’ll have similar results: my properties arrive first.

That was key number one: free advertising via google for people looking for podcasts related to gaming and drinking (not always going hand-in-hand of course). Two years went by with almost no user feedback in my gaming podcast, but each episode was going from ten downloads a week to twenty, and thirty and fifty then one hundred and so one… but who was listening? Silence.

I was #1 on my google search terms which brought an expanding audience but still very little in terms of feedback. The first major barrier is finding a topic that elicits a lot of feedback. The drinking podcast receives very little feedback and I’m not expecting it to grow too much in the next year. The show is more for entertainment value and learning but doesn’t ask a lot of questions. In 20+ episodes we received, probably, three e-mails about the show. Not a stunning reception.

But, the audience continues to grow, the RSS feed statistics rise and we get more downloads minutes after posting than ever before. For this podcast I have relied on my instincts as to which direction to take each episode – a drinking podcast doesn’t bring a lot of feedback but if the audience rises instead of falls I know I’m doing it right. If you’re driving in the dark and never hit a tree than you know you’re doing some pretty awesome driving.

The gaming podcast was a personal challenge, how do I grow an audience of interactive gamers. A few guidelines that have worked well for me:

Build a Blog

If you don’t have a website as a landing page for your podcast audience than you need to get one yesterday! WordPress is a great launching point because you can get a blog up and running in under an hour with a comment system and spam protection. This will be where you’ll post your show notes with open community comments.

Initially, you’ll want to post content on your blog to build up content on the site and get google to start chewing on it. If your podcast is about cats, you’ll want to blog about cats, post silly cat images, link to cat related websites and click the links to hit their site and bump their referral logs (so the author sees you). “Work the room” with people and their cat interests and let them know you’ve got a website and audio/video podcast. Post on your blog three times a day for at least three weeks to build up a bankroll of content.

I used this post method on and started receiving alcohol from PR people to review along with accessories. Heck, I even got a portable beer pong table because, with all my editorials, I became an expert in the drinking industry. Not too shabby as a method to start a landing site for my audio show, eh?

Setup Forums

Setup some forums, if you’re using wordpress I suggest Simple:Press from YellowFish. They will link to the user accounting system within WordPress so commentors that sign up on your blog can post forum topics immediately. Post forum topics, get your friends to post some topics and populate the forums. Don’t expect to build a 1,000 user audience overnight or even in the first few years. But, if you make it available someone may use it and you can use that as feedback for your show.

Contact Us and E-Mail

Don’t post your e-mail address on your blog if you don’t want a lot of spam – but you can setup a contact us form using WordPress and the Secure and Accessible Contact Form module. This will give your audience another way to contact you. If you’re creating a podcast you can use your e-mail in the audio since spammers aren’t that smart.

Promote Your Podcast

You can promote your podcast in a number of easy and affordable ways. After you’ve got three episodes you can submit it to iTunes. You can google “podcast directories” and create an account on all the directories then submit your RSS feed. I suggest tying your RSS feed to Feedburner so you can track statistics in one of the more industry standard methods. Each directory that accepts your podcast will also automatically link back to your website because it’s part of the standard iTunes complaint RSS feed (which Feedburner will standardize for you). That increases the chances google will rank you well.

You can also use a very low cost advertising method as I have done for my shows at ProjectWonderful. For a few cents a day you can splash your podcast banners on all types of sites that focus on the demographic you want to capture. That might be personal blogs, business, food and drinks, lifestyle, home gardening and many others. Don’t expect people to find you, find them first and do it on the cheap.

Ask Questions

There are a few ways to get your listeners to submit feedback. You can ask questions in the podcast that you think people may have an opinion on or you can discuss things that people just cannot afford to let pass, usually dealing with politics, international affairs or anything you’ve had past heated discussions about on a personal level. Some folks will go out of their way to demand feedback by just being over the top controversial, you’ll get hate mail but it is, in fact, feedback.

Do It

Do setup a website, do keep the content fresh, do post consistent episodes on a regular schedule and give your audience many outlets to respond to your podcast you’ll get some traction. We received roughly four comments on our Gaming Podcast until we setup and built out a forum. and comment system

Many people are shy and don’t want to compose an e-mail to a stranger. Others are paranoid and don’t want their email being spread around. Some folks post on forums on a daily bases and find that the natural way to comment while others will blindly and anonymously post in response to a blog entry. Feedback comes in many forms and everyone seems to use their own technique. This is why we choose to include forum posts, blog responses and e-mails in our “feedback” section of our gaming podcast. Some users may not have submitted it thinking it would make the show, but we pick and choose to make sure gamers realize they too can talk back.

At first, you may have your own friends write in or simply make up questions from people that don’t even exist. Perhaps that “imaginary” writer has something controversial to say and it could elicit more feedback from real users. Once you start a trend others will feed into it and chat on a normal bases.

Lastly, you may notice that every podcast has its own set of responders. From Buzz Out Loud form CNET to The Daily Giz Wiz by Leo Laporte to GameSpots podcasts and language learning podcasts, there is a set of “regulars” that write in constantly and keep the show interesting. Everybody needs a few regulars, just like a bar or a restaurant — you’ll know them by name and they’ll add a new dynamic personality to the show.

Once you’ve got a few regulars consider your job done. Most of your audience is listening to an audio podcast because its a nice passive way to get through their day. They don’t need to write in to show their support because their downloads and impressions are left on the show through the shows yearly growth.

Have you ever called into an FM radio show? Probably not.

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  1. Thanks for writing this!

    Elise, 11 years ago

  2. i’ve been listening to podcasts for years now and i just never feel inclined to comment or leave feedback. mainly because subscribe to the rss feed or download it directly to my mp3 player. anyways i just stumbled on your website ( a few months ago and I’ve been enjoying it ever since. You do a great job and i appreciate the effort and time you guys put into these. Keep up the good work ;-)

    P.S. subscribing to the everyday drinkers podcast, seem exciting.

    Albert (UK), 11 years ago

  3. Yeah, the other huge factor is that we WANT to comment, but we’re commuting, lying in bed listening before bed (we have listeners that do that) and by the time you get to your PC/Mac it’s out of sight out of mind.

    That’s a huge problem, but one you really can’t get around if you happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time to comment. But, knowing I’ve got a few consistent e-mailers and seeing the download counts make me know people are paying attention.

    Although, honestly, my heart warms when I get new listeners writing in once and awhile as you just feel good about all the work you put in. And, that’s a huge part, we spend a lot of time to put out episodes, an hour show requires more than that to edit (last episode of the gaming podcast took 2x to edit thanks to our music cuts) and then there is posting, advertising, production, blogging, etc. So, knowing folks really care makes it all worth while.

    That’s the best part of feedback, and one reason podcasters have to keep their head up and keep podcasting – someday you’ll get a write-in. For us, it was two years after starting the show.

    Derrick Schommer, 11 years ago

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