Why You Shouldn’t Use Podcast Reviews as a ‘Bargaining Chip’ For Guest Appearances

How Do Podcast Reviews Work?

Reviews can provide insights into what a listener will experience with a podcast, as well as help a podcast's discoverability. But they should never be used as bargaining chips.We live in a world where buying decisions are heavily influenced by what others have to say about their experience with the product, service, brand, etc. In fact, according to qualtrics.com, 93% of customers read online reviews before buying a product.

I’ve always been a firm believer that user experience is subjective, especially when it comes to, say, frequenting a restaurant. Just because one particular guest had a bad experience and chose to write about it online does not mean your experience will be the same. It could be way better. It could even end up being the best eating experience of your life.

That said, I don’t dismiss reviews and often check them myself to get a feel for what people have to say.

The same thing goes for podcast reviews. Discovering what others are experiencing with a podcast can give some additional insight into whether I want to reach out to that show for a guest appearance or if it’s a show I want to add to my listening rotation.

Of course, the reviews don’t tell the whole story. I’ve found shows that were renowned for their content and quality, but said content didn’t resonate with me when I hit the play button. I

With podcasts, reviews not only let others know what you think of the show, they aid in discoverability. The more reviews a show has, the more love that show gets from the algorithms, thus leading to the podcast being more frequently suggested to people searching for podcasts in that genre.

So naturally, the “gurus” and “experts” of the world will tell you to use the act of leaving a review as a means of locking down a guest appearance on that show. They know podcasters want positive reviews, so naturally they’re going to take anyone who gives them just that seriously, right?

Perhaps. But I believe this process runs much deeper than a review.

Today, I’m here to tell you why you shouldn’t expect a review to guarantee you a guest spot…and to provide a much more genuine way to proceed that will deliver a much better long-term result.

Because podcasters covet those reviews, it should absolutely be part of your value-driven guesting strategy. But it shouldn’t be a bargaining chip.

And it shouldn’t be done just to do it. It should serve a purpose to the podcaster AND to the audience that discovers the podcast through general search or via recommendation.

Podcasters may covet a review, but you know what they covet more? Value. And sliding your way into a guest appearance just because you left a review is not valuable. It’s transactional at best.

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What To Do Instead

To stand out as a strong guest candidate, you want to present yourself as a valuable asset from your very first correspondence and carry that value through until your interview goes live and beyond. Instead of starting your correspondence with this:

“Hey Sam! I just left you a 5-star review for your podcast and love the show. I would love to be a guest! Do you have a link for scheduling?”

Do this instead:

“Hey Sam! I just wanted to take this opportunity to compliment you on the work you’re doing with your podcast. I especially loved Episode 54 where you talked with Jessica Greatguest about X, Y, and Z. I specialize in X and have already shared that episode with a few of my clients. If you are currently looking for new collaboration opportunities, I would love to join you for an impactful conversation about X. We could also talk about Y, Z, and maybe even Q if you feel it would benefit your audience!”

By doing the latter, you’re leading with value and immediately showing the host of the show that you’re invested in their content. Not only did you listen to the show yourself, you recommended it to others. THIS is how a podcaster grows an audience.

Don’t get me wrong, the reviews help. But if one podcast listener recommends an episode to someone, then that person recommends it to someone else, and so on, exponential growth is in play, and that podcast is off to the races!

Later in your correspondence, you can add:

“Once our conversation concludes, I would be proud to leave you a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts and Podchaser to let the world know about my experience on your show and what a listener can expect when they subscribe and consume your content. I would also be happy to share the episode with my Facebook community where we have great engagement and interaction every day!”

With this approach, you lead with value, you give them a review AFTER you’ve experienced the show on multiple levels, and you give them some reassurance that you’re committed to sharing the content once it’s live. Any podcaster looking to grow will appreciate this effort on your part and will not only strengthen your relationship with that podcaster, it could lead to numerous opportunities, including future appearances on their show or a recommendation for a guest spot on their friend or colleague’s podcast.

Of all the steps mentioned above, the most important that I haven’t yet mentioned is your follow-through. If you talk a big game in your correspondence, but fail to deliver value throughout the process and/or fall short when it comes to sharing the episode or leaving that review, your credibility instantly wanes and building your brand as a podcast guest gets increasingly difficult the more earth you scorch.

Entrepreneurs and professionals who seek to take their brands to the next level by making mic-dropping podcast guest appearances are focused on bringing the value from start to finish. And to do that, your efforts need to go beyond just leaving a review. Stand out by showcasing why you’ll be a valuable asset to their production.

And when you follow through on everything you present, everybody involved will experience a victory.


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