Telling your friend, or anyone, that their podcast sucks is very hard to do. You need to think carefully about how to deliver the news, because if you launch into a spiel about how much their podcast sucks without any facts to back up your comments a) you run the risk of jeopardizing the friendship and b) you’ll end up looking like a mean, overly critical person.
Knowing exactly what bothers you about their podcast and having some answers to help your friend going forward is a good strategy, because chances are the first question that comes out of their mouth will be ‘What’s so bad about it?!”
Check out some of these common rookie errors that people make with podcasts, and see if your friend’s podcast is guilty of the same mistakes.
- Too Long
Some people like to talk. A lot. The danger here is producing an overlong podcast that causes people to nod off or choose not to listen to it. The average length is 30 minutes but users actually prefer podcasts that last than 16 minutes. Keep it to within this length, and the likelihood of people listening to it triples.
- No Value
Why should people be listening to the podcast? What’s it actually about? For people to decide a podcast is worth listening to, get engaged in what’s being said and come back for more, it has to offer something of real value or something that other podcasts don’t.
- Bad Audio
Bad sound is distracting, unprofessional and people won’t listen to it. Even if podcasting is just a hobby, it’s prudent to invest in the right equipment to record clear audio, including: a good quality microphone and headphones, a noise protection filter for microphones and levelator software so all the sound is at the same level.
- No Editing
Editing is a must to remove the weak and boring parts of a conversation, and distracting background noises. Unfortunately many people upload the raw recording as is, and expect their audience to listen to it verbatim. All good podcasters spend time editing their material to keep the content as interesting and professional sounding as possible.
- No Knowledge
A podcast by someone who offers incorrect information about a subject or doesn’t know enough about a topic to discuss it will be underwhelming for most. Research, research and more research is required to show knowledge on a subject matter and to bring value to the listener.
Now you know why it sucks, how do you tell them?
If your friend is the practical type then they may prefer you to tell them like it is so they can make improvements to their podcast. But if they’re the sensitive type, these basic psychology tips on how to break bad news to a friend could help:
- Try to deliver your feedback as clearly and empathetically as possible – and choose your moment. If your friend has just found out the family cat has passed away, it’s best to wait so they don’t have a double whammy of bad news.
- Keep it short and to the point – and don’t ramble on. If you think you might go overboard with the details, make a short list of what the issues are with the podcast and practice saying them out loud beforehand. If your friend seems receptive to the feedback say you’ve done some research and give them the list to refer to.
- Say how it affected you personally – and don’t mention the other listeners because you can’t speak for them. For example, you might say “it was difficult for me to hear in my car” or “there were a lot of distractions in the audio and it made me feel frustrated”.
- Be prepared for a bad reaction – and work hard to convey that you understand but that you’re wanting to give them information to help them, not criticize their efforts. Don’t press your point but leave them to think about what you’ve said and let them know you’re always available if they want to talk about it some more.
If you can manage to execute all, or most, of these techniques then hopefully your sensitive friend will take your feedback as the way you meant it – as constructive criticism – and work to create much better podcasts in the future.
About Matt Ramage:
Founder of Emarketed
Matt Ramage has been marketing websites for over 20 years. He loves helping businesses improve their user experience and searchability on the Internet. Matt now heads Emarketed which is located in Los Angeles, California. They specialize in SEO, social media marketing and web development.
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