Let’s face it. Reading positive comments and seeing five-star reviews about YOUR show is pretty great! Not only does all that positivity aimed at your podcast give you a confidence boost, but they also help you know that your listeners have connected with you and your show and love what you are doing. Besides the internal fuzzy feelings all the positive feedback brings, high ratings, particularly on podcast directories such as Apple Podcasts and Stitcher, can be a really effective way to draw in new listeners. And there’s no denying that having that stamp of approval from your listeners in the form of positive reviews and comments gives you that much-desired affirmation that you and your show are on the right track. Positive reviews are undoubtedly amazing, but what do you do when you come across negative comments about your show, or you see those dreaded one-star reviews?
Negative comments about your podcast can really rain on your parade and sink your spirits faster than a lead balloon. Once read, it’s hard not to take these comments and one-star reviews as personal attacks. But, as you’re only human after all, you’re not going to be able to please everyone all of the time, and so for however long you’re putting out episodes, there is always the potential for someone to criticize what you’re doing by leaving less-than-stellar reviews. And while some negative feedback, or “constructive criticism” as it’s more fondly called, can actually be quite helpful (however painful it is initially) there are those completely unmerited and out-right nasty comments that you may come across in the comment section of your podcast which can be a bit more difficult to deal with. But, never fear! Today we’re going to walk you through just how to deal with those negative comments and reviews in a way that is helpful, constructive, and which, most importantly, will help prevent them from getting you down or stopping you doing what you love.
1. Don’t Take It Personally
The first strategy for dealing with negative reviews and comments is to not take those comments personally. Now, I know that this is WAY easier said than done, but remember, even though your show is an extension of you, your show is not you. Any negative comments or bad reviews you may receive about your show are not about you as a person. They are not a reflection of your talent, your expertise, and your knowledge, and they by no means take away from the amazing, passionate person you are. In our next strategies, we’ll give you some tips on how to deal with the negative reviews constructively, but for any of the following to be helpful, first and foremost, you need to remember that whatever the reviews say, they should not diminish your self-belief or your passion for podcasting.
2. Look For Validity
When you first see that negative review, your stomach may drop, you may feel like you’ve just been punched in the gut, and there may even be a few tears. (All totally natural and acceptable responses, btw!) But before you take a trip down to the Pit of Despair, take a moment to evaluate the comment. We call this “Looking for validity.” What this means is that before you take any sort of action, or you invest too much time and energy pouring over the bad review, evaluate the logistics of where it comes from. Is it a comment from a regular listener, or for someone that has just listened to one episode of your show? Does the writer of the comment fall within your listener demographic, or is it someone who simply might not relate to your content as it was not aimed at them? For instance, if your show is dedicated to your love of dogs, a cat lover may not agree with your stance that dogs are simply better than cats, and may let you know in the comments. Comments like this, then, are not ones you should take to heart or spend any energy on, as they are simply due to a misalignment between your show and the listener.
3. Be Objective
Once you’ve established the validity of a negative comment or review, you now need to decide how you are going to proceed. Our next strategy is to put on your Objective Spectacles and reread the review. By reminding yourself to be objective, you remove a level of closeness to the review and you’re able to evaluate its merits (if there are any) rather than responding to it emotionally. Sometimes what at first seems to be a negative review is actually constructive criticism in disguise, and if you are able to process the comment from an objective standpoint, it could help you take the appropriate action and make your great show even better. When we react emotionally, it can cloud our judgment, and perhaps prevent us from honestly seeing the truth that may be in the review. However, if we can remain objective, and not take the comments or reviews as personal attacks, we may see that the comment contains some valid points and may actually help to make the changes necessary to take the podcast to the next level.
4. Set Time Limits
If you do struggle mentally and emotionally with reading negative comments, and you find it quite an overwhelming experience, a really helpful strategy is to only read your comments during set periods in your week. Create a specified space in your schedule for reading and addressing your comments, and limit yourself to that time frame. This way, you can mentally prepare for the activity, and be in a headspace where you are open to hearing from your listeners. A specified amount of time spent reading your comments will also stop you from going down the rabbit hole and getting lost in negative thoughts. In your set time, read through the comments and the reviews – the good and the bad – take the time to respond where you need to, make notes where necessary, and at the end of your set time, stop. Allow the joy from the positive comments to boost your confidence, take any constructive criticism and apply the changes where you can, but leave the negativity behind.
5. Bring Balance With The Positives
Another strategy for dealing with negative reviews is to not read the negative comments and reviews in isolation. What we mean by this is that when you take the time to go through your comments, reviews, or ratings, don’t only search for and read the negative ones. Take the time to read through all the great things that people are saying about your show, absorb them, and allow them to fill you with joy and pride in all that you’re doing for your show, and how your audience is connecting with you and your content. Allow all the uplifting comments to bring balance to any negative comments there may be. Focusing on all the positives as you work through the negatives will help you keep perspective. The positives will more than likely far outweigh the negatives and so the mental and emotional time you spend on the negative comments should be far less than the time you spend reading and processing the positives.
6. It’s Not You, It’s Them
“It’s not you, it’s me.” is the cliché breakup line that has crushed many a heart over the years, but the principle of this saying does have a ring of truth to it when it comes to negative reviews for your podcast. If, as you’re reading through your reviews and you come across one where there is no constructive criticism or any positive takeaway, and the writer of the comment chooses to be undeservedly unkind, then it totally says more about them than it does about you and your show! In the case of a review that is unmerited, unjustified, or just downright mean, and as hard as this is to process emotionally, those types of negative reviews are not worth your time and energy! Brush them off, or request their removal if applicable, and, most importantly, do not let them steal your thunder! Don’t allow the negativity to throw your self-belief into question, or make you doubt your passion, skills, or the hard work you’ve put into your show.
7. Keep Giving Your Best
Last but certainly not least, one way to deal with negative feedback is to never allow it to stop you from consistently giving your best. No matter what the Ratings and Reviews section of your show looks like, remember that your priority as a podcaster should remain giving your best to each and every episode you publish. If you consistently put out stellar content and really take the time to create and connect with the community around your show, a positive review and rating will be a natural response on the part of your loyal listeners to your show, and you’ll come across negative comments less and less. And while you’re never able to please everybody all of the time, if you keep giving your best and making stand-out episodes, your community of loyal listeners will continue to expand and strengthen and your show will be elevated to new heights, despite what any nay-sayers may say!
At The End of The Day…
Podcast reviews are one of the few true ways that you, as a podcaster, can gauge just how your content and the overall package is resonating with your listeners. But the success of your show will most likely not be undone by a couple of bad reviews. And while there’s always a little sting every time you see a single star decorating your page, this does not mean it is a reflection of the quality of your show. And, while reviews can sway listeners to pick your podcast, no amount of positive comments and five-star ratings will be able to keep listeners listening if your content is poor and your execution is sub-par. Other people’s comments may not be in your control, but consistently creating amazing episodes and working to make your show the best that it can be certainly is. Most importantly, remember that the fear of receiving negative feedback should not steal the joy of podcasting from you. Negative comments and criticism, whether constructive or otherwise, are a part of anything that involves making something for other people’s consumption, and the truth is, they are probably going to happen sometime or another. And while reading negative comments will never be a “fun” experience, armed with these strategies, you will be equipped to deal with them in a positive, constructive way and they will not be able to dampen your sparkle or dim your light in the podcast industry.
Related read: How To Rack Up Podcast Reviews