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iTunes Traffic – How Do I Get Ratings and Reviews for My Podcast?

It’s another Expert Briefs, where I ask really smart business owners to answer your burning questions.

If you've missed past Expert Briefs, you can click on the graphic to the right to see them all –>

This week I asked our panel of experts about how to get more traffic with iTunes.

The question I asked was…

“I keep hearing that ratings and reviews are really important on iTunes if you have a podcast.

So… this is for those of you who have a lot of testimonials. How the heck did you do it?”

WHY is this question important?

Your traffic and exposure to your podcast from iTunes appears to be directly related to the number of comments/reviews you have.

A quick back story on this week's question ….

1. I had my podcast on iTunes.
2. Like a doofus, I removed it. (Don't ask.)
3. I've struggled to get it re-added, and now am starting from scratch to get subscribers, reviews and ratings.

I've got a few things up my sleeve, but thought it would be a good opportunity to discuss the topic and hear from everyone and find out what's working for them.

Basically, I've created my own brilliant mastermind group that I can email when I have questions. The cool thing is that I then post their responses here so you can also read them. Pretty slick, eh? 🙂

Please Welcome our New Experts.

You'll see two new faces below. I stalked hand-picked Jason and Pat because I'm impressed with their knowledge of iTunes – and because they're great guys.

Plus, I'm hoping they'll be guests on my podcast soon, so I HAVE to get some reviews on iTunes first (to impress them) and I wanted to know how best to do that. I figured I'll do whatever they say, get lots of reviews, and then start pestering them to come on my podcast. Wish me luck!

Please give them a warm welcome by commenting below!


 

Mark Mason of The Mason World Late Night Internet Marketing Podcast says:

One of the things that I find interesting about the iTunes marketplace is that so much less is known about how the rankings are ACTUALLY done compared to Google. Lot's of people have theories, but there is much less hard data on iTunes rankings than there is for Google.

Anyway, I recommend the following:

1. Here is the most important thing. Quality. Good mic, pop filter, great content, right volume level, etc. Spend a few extra minutes on your podcast production and people will pass it along to their friends. In all things, content is still KING.

2. Make you have professional looking graphics. Having a value proposition in your tagline helps too. People will not subscribe to a podcast with crummy graphics.

3. Same goes for your description. Make sure it is compelling. Remember, you are trying to convert people into hitting the subscribe button AND rank in the iTunes search engine. So also make sure your keywords appear in the description.

4. Speaking of keywords, make sure you have your keywords in your RSS feed in the channel info.

5. Get reviews. Lots of them. This is very important. Not just star rankings, but also a written review in iTunes. Ask your listeners to go to iTunes and leave a review. Offer them an ethical bribe.

6. Publish show notes on a blog and so all your normal Google stuff. Let people know that you have the podcast…but make sure you have a separate feed for your podcast as opposed to all your content.

7. Burn you podcast feed in Feedburner and pay a VA to submit your feed to any and all podcast directories. There are many. Submit to them all.

8. Repurpose your audio and publish it in YouTube. Link back to your podcast in your youtube description.

I recommend Jason Van Orden, Paul Colligan, and The Podcast Answer Man Cliff Ravenscraft for further information.


 

Jason Van Orden of Internet Business Mastery says:

Here are four tips for getting more positive reviews and ratings in iTunes (which greatly increases your visibility and traffic).

1. Just ask

For a week or two, make it a point to ask for reviews and ratings in your show, in your email newsletter, on Twitter etc. Your loyal audience will be happy to oblige.

2. Set a goal with your audience

This is the goals that you see them post for telethons. When you ask your audience for reviews, tell them you have a goal to get to X reviews. Make them a part of the journey to hit a specific target by a specific time.

3. Link directly to your page in iTunes

Any page in iTunes can be linked to directly. Just right-click on the name of you show and select Copy Link.

4. Create a very short video showing them exactly what you would like them to do

Make it really easy. Show them exactly where to go, what to click and what kind of review to leave.


 

Pat Flynn of The Smart Passive Income Blog says:

Because I have experience with creating iPhone apps, I know exactly how important reviews and ratings are for rankings in iTunes. Not only that, great rankings and reviews will encourage people who happen upon your page in iTunes to listen and subscribe as well.

There are several ways to generate more reviews and ratings:

First and foremost, just create awesome content. The more awesome your content is, the more likely someone will take the time to leave you a rating and review. On the flip side, you can also get a lot of ratings and reviews by creating absolutely terrible content, but I'm pretty sure that's not really what you're going for.

Secondly, you can simply ask. Asking people to leave a rating and review isn't a bad thing in my opinion, as long as it's not overdone. You can ask on your show, in your blog, on Twitter, on Facebook – where ever you'd like!

Thirdly, you can leave ratings and reviews for other podcasters in your niche. Many times, those people will be more than happy to return the favor and leave a favorable rating and review for your own podcast as well.

Lastly, another thing you can do is instead of asking for ratings and reviews on your show is highlight some of the ratings and reviews that have already been made, and make sure to mention the commenter's iTunes handle (or name if you know it) as well. This will encourage others to leave their own reviews because they'll know there's a chance they might be mentioned on your show as well.


 

Kelly McCausey of Work at Home Moms Talk Radio says:

Work at Home Moms Talk Radio has been in iTunes since 2005. For as many years as I've been listed there, maybe I should be bothered that I only have seven reviews? Five are positive, Two think I need to be more professional (pfft!).

It's interesting, I am an avid iTunes user and have never read reviews to decide whether to give a podcast a try. I'm not sure how much weight they're given in the grand scheme of things. I've seen a lot of programs ‘featured' in iTunes that have only one or two reviews posted, so I don't believe reviews play a huge role in that. You'd think it would!

Not focusing on getting reviews hasn't hurt the show. I'm number one in iTunes for my targeted search terms and that has consistently brought me new listeners who have turned into customers. My tip would be to not worry too much about the reviews and use good keywords in your podcast episode titles and descriptions. iTunes Music Store is a search engine after all.


NicoleNicole Dean of .. here! .. says:

Well, I have a few ideas, but I'm still obviously experimenting.

1. Write a Blog Post about iTunes Reviews.

I'm writing a blog post where I beg for ratings. (checking that off my list now… This is it.) lol.

–> Pssst. Here's me on iTunes:

Online Business Success Interviews on iTunes with Nicole Dean

2. Asking Past Guests who've Been on My Show.

I am contacting my friends who have been interviewed on the show and am asking them to take a moment to review the show, to help us both get more traffic. I'll also resend them the transcripts so they can help spread the word.

3. Adding iTunes Button to My Blog.

I added a button to the upper right corner of my blog where it showcases the iTunes link. (It used to be hidden more.) I know… fancy marketing, right? Nothing too slick about that. Just an oversight that I corrected.

4. My Lists.

I'm going to mention the link to my lists frequently and add it to my autoresponder sequence, too.

5.Viral Report about iTunes Traffic.

I'll be turning this blog post into a free report that will get my iTunes account more exposure – and, hopefully, more reviews.

6. During the Shows.

I'll mention during the shows that I record from now on that I'm on iTunes and that I appreciate reviews.

7. How about Prizes?

I have a few ideas for contests, but I'm just not sure yet how the whole thing works. How about this… you review my podcast (hopefully something nice) and then comment below that you did it. I'll randomly choose five winners from all the reviews to win. (Winners will be contacted by email.)

If you win, you can choose any one of the following as your prize:

Here's the link to me on iTunes:

Nicole

I'm taking Jason's Advice, so here's

HOW to Post a Review on iTunes.

I asked my friend, and my podcasting virtual assistant, to help me figure out how the heck to post a review on iTunes and why a review that a friend posted wasn't showing up. Here's her response. (I added the graphics. I don't want her to take the blame for how amateurish they look! )

Christina Lemmey of MultiMediaVA.com says:

OK! Here's the scoop on iTunes reviews (and a couple of other cool things)…

To review a podcast, go to your iTunes library and click on the podcast title from your library list.

Another page will show up with the podcast graphic, title, and episode titles.

On the left, under the graphic, there's a ‘subscribe' button with a little ‘down arrow'.

To Subscribe and Share:

Click the ‘down arrow' and you have 4 choices:

  • tell a friend (apple sign in / account required…this allows you to email friends the podcast link)
  • copy link (this is your itunes subscribe link, in case you lose the original email)
  • share on facebook (login required)
  • share on twitter (login required)

To Rate:

Once you're done sharing, scroll down this same episode listing page and you'll see ‘customer ratings'. Simply click the number of stars and the results show up immediately.

To Review:


Directly underneath that is ‘customer reviews' where you can write a review up to 6,000 CHARACTERS in length (although iTunes recommends 200 WORDS).

Once you hit submit, the review is sent to iTunes to be approved. Not sure how long that process takes but once they are approved it says they'll show up in the iTunes store. (That is possibly why we don't see Melissa's review showing yet.)

Hope this helps! I also left you a glowing review while I was testing out the process 🙂


I hope this was helpful. And, thanks, as always, for reading!

 

Please share your tips (or questions) below.

Warmly,
Nicole Dean

I adore comments! Please share your thoughts.

  • Denise Wakeman
    Reply

    I love these tips. My podcast is totally haphazard and mainly a way for me to repurpose video and audio that I do for other things. I think it’s time for me to get more serious about what I’m putting out there. I’m also sending this post to a client who wants to amp up her podcast. Thanks for this expert brief, Nicole!

  • Lisa Marie Mary
    Reply

    iTunes is really, really confusing for me! I’m going to go back through these instructions (Christina’s) later when I have more time. I’d love the answer to one question, though, that has really fumbled me up – do you have to have an apple account to rate a show? And can just anyone get one – like, for free? And not on an apple machine?

    *apple challenged*

    • Denise Wakeman
      Reply

      Lisa Marie, you need to have an iTunes account to rate and review podcasts. It’s free. No Apple machine required.

    • Nicole
      Reply

      I *think* you have to have your account hooked into a credit card or paypal account, though, even just to access free mp3s.

      I asked Christina to come by and clarify for us to be sure. I’m apple-challenged, too.

    • Christina Lemmey
      Reply

      Absolutely anyone can have an apple / itunes account and it’s free to sign up. No need for a MAC either.

      You also need to have an Apple account if you want to leave reviews AND if you want to submit a podcast feed.

      It’s worth signing up for.

  • Denise Wakeman
    Reply

    BTW, I have subscribed to your podcast and just updated my ipod so I’ll be listening to your series soon and posting a review. 🙂

  • Alice Seba
    Reply

    Kelly – While I don’t listen to podcasts, I do use the app store a lot and it’s the same thing. I never go by the reviews because it’s just a bunch of yahoos who don’t read what the product is about and expect and apple to be an orange. 🙂

  • Dr.Mani
    Reply

    Two things happened this week which led me to read this post.

    1. Libsyn notified me that my podcasting account with them expires in a month – and I had clean forgotten about updating it from time to time.

    2. One of my subscribers suggested the idea of converting my weekly e-newsletter into an audio version so it would be convenient to listen to while driving or walking.

    Learned some nice tips from this collection of expert briefs, and will put them to use. Thanks, Nicole, for doing this – and I’ve sent in a submission for your next one, too. Looking forward to that and learning more from the experts 🙂

    All success
    Dr.Mani

    • Nicole
      Reply

      Thanks, Dr. Mani.

      Can you grab your audios from Libsyn before your account closes? I hope so. I just use the podpress plugin which works well, even though it hasn’t been updated in ages. (Fingers and toes crossed that I didn’t just jinx myself.) 🙂

      Hope to have you on my show soon, too!

      N

  • Ally Loprete
    Reply

    Okay, kids! I would love to share with you something really really great that my network and I all figured out. Its so simple, really! We all gave each other reviews and watched our numbers as they climbed! Its a supportive bunch and we really all listen to each others shows, so why not? We all found that asking our audience to give us reviews was just NOT working because it confused them and unless they had iTunes downloaded, they got frustrated while trying to figuring it out. (hint: its never good to frustrate those that are willing to do you a favor!) Anyway… I would love to recommend the same support campaign thing here. If you can give me a review, I will absolutely return the favor. You can even email me (thislittleparent@gmail.com) and remind me to review yours once you’ve given me one. I am as loyal as they come:)
    Here is mine:
    http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/this-little-parent-stayed/id357476643

    And you never know- maybe we’ll find some new podcasts that will inspire us in the process!

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