Want to improve your podcast? Want to know exactly what your audience thinks about your show? What they love? What parts of your show might be missing the mark? Or how you can make your podcast even better? Then you should create a podcast survey!
Podcast surveys are an excellent way of getting direct feedback from your listeners. And this feedback is beneficial on so many levels! Of course, it can give you insight into how to better plan out future episodes and how to improve your show overall. But running surveys are a great opportunity to gather specific data that will give you great leverage when entering into sponsorship opportunities.
But how can you create podcast surveys that do all this and so much more? Keep reading! We’ve got you covered!
1. What is a Podcast Survey
In general, a survey is a way to collect direct feedback from the target audience of a business/organization/brand/etc. In the podcasting space, podcast hosts can survey their loyal audience. This is a direct way you can gather invaluable feedback about how your audience is responding to your show. Comments and reviews are great! But they often don’t give you the specifics you need to help you improve, and to keep giving your audience what they’re looking for. But a podcast survey gives you access to an open channel of communication with your whole audience.
2. The Benefits of Running a Podcast Survey
The benefits of running a podcast survey are many. For one, it can provide you with valuable feedback about what your listeners want to hear more about. This information can help you better plan out future episodes. Surveys also give an opportunity for listeners to share any thoughts or ideas they might have in order to shape the show in potentially new directions.
Not only do the results of surveys help you personally as the podcast host create a better podcast, but the results are a great thing to have in your back pocket when you enter into sponsorship negotiations.
The information you gather as a result of your survey could come in handy when you’re pitching to potential sponsors. You can give solid facts and figures about the type of audience sponsors will have access to if they choose to partner with you. You can use the results of your surveys to demonstrate that your audience is their perfect target audience, and you’ll have a much better chance of landing that deal!
3. Why Surveys Should be a Part of your Podcast Strategy
If you need a little more convincing besides the above-mentioned benefits, here are some additional reasons why podcast hosts should include surveys as part of your podcasting game plan.
First of all, surveys offer you a direct line to what your audience is after. The audience is the lifeblood of any podcast. And so knowing exactly what they’re after is invaluable.
A survey can also help give you an overall picture of your target audience. You can then use this information to evaluate your podcast objectively and see where any improvements or adjustments are needed.
And a survey strategy can have an immense positive impact on the building of your podcast community. For the majority of your communication with your audience, you’re the one doing the talking. A survey enables your audience to talk back. And so running surveys conveys to your audience that you want to hear from them. You want to provide them the space to share their thoughts, which is vital to relationship building. And this shows that you value their input and opinions. And it’s these open lines of communication upon which a community is formed.
4. How to Conduct a Podcast Survey
Now that you’re convinced of the benefits of surveying your podcast audience, we need to focus on the How-To’s of running successful surveys.
Step 1: Point of contact. How and where will your listeners gain access to your survey? Options abound, but popular choices include using your mailing list, (If you don’t have one yet, now is the time to start one! Check out this post for more!) using your social media platforms, or your show notes as places your listeners can find direct links to your survey, wherever you choose to create it.
Step 2: The logistics. This is where you plan the finer details of your survey. Consider how long you’re going to run your survey for and where you’re going to promote it. And as it’s your listeners you want to survey, you’ll need to add a promo or segment to your upcoming episodes to encourage your listeners to take part.
Remember, most people listen to podcasts while doing other things so you’re going to need a multi-platform approach. You’re going to have to appeal to your audience a number of times and in a number of different places. This will help to get as many listeners to complete the survey.
5. Questions To Include in your Podcast Survey
The foundational questions of your podcast should aim to gather demograhic-related questions about your general podcast audience. These types of questions are the ones your potential sponsors would be most interested in. Questions such as age, occupation, product preferences, and spending habits would all be useful information for sponsorship and advertisement opportunities down the line.
For you as the podcast host, you would want to include questions that are more focused on how your listeners feel about your show. You should include questions about where they first heard about your show, what segments they enjoy most, and what they love about your show in general. The answers to all of these types of questions will give you top-notch insight into your content creation game plan as well giving direction to your future marketing strategies.
But, if you really want to use your surveys to help you improve your podcast, you will need to include some “hard” questions. Questions like what they would like to see change on your show, how would they rate your audio and sound quality, or providing the opportunity for your listeners to voice any other criticisms they might have should also be part of your survey strategy. And while these may be hard to hear, this sort of constructive criticism is necessary if you want to know how and where you can improve to make your podcast the best that it can be.
NOTE: If you’re not sure how to go about creating a survey, Edison Research is there to help! They’ve created a free Podcast Listener Survey that you can use to survey your podcast listeners. Read more about what they offer and gain access to the free survey here.
6. How to Get Listeners to Take your Survey
Now to the big one, how to actually get your listeners to take part in your survey. One tried and tested method is to run a giveaway and use the survey as one tasks they need complete before receiving an entry.
Providing some form of incentive, such as a voucher or discount coupon is another great way to get listeners to partake.
If offering gifts or monetary incentives are not an option, then you could get creative and offer incentives like shout outs in upcoming episodes. You could offer to do personalized in response to your listeners taking part in your survey. You could even include a section in your survey for what they would like you to say in your shout out, within reason, of course!
7. What To Do with the Results of your Podcast Survey
So you’ve made an awesome survey and collected some interesting responses. Now what? Well, now the real fun begins…recording and analyzing the results.
So break out your favorite spreadsheet platform and start plugging in your responses! The results from the demographic-type questions are fairly easy to record and analyze. And once collected, and the appropriate formulas applied, they should give you great insight into things like your audience’s average age, their listening habits, and perhaps even their spending habits.
Now looking at the more in-depth responses; their likes and their criticisms. These are not as easy to pull data from, as there are no numbers to crunch. One way to practically use these responses to improve your podcast is to categorize them under headings such as “Pros”, “Cons”, and perhaps “Critiques”. You can then group the responses under the appropriate headings, and as you take time to read through them, onboard the feedback and use it to make your podcast the best that it can be.
8. Tips for Running an Effective Survey
So you’re fully convinced that podcast surveys are a must. You love the opportunity they offer to connect with your audience. And you’re excited to hear all they have to say. But you’re a little unsure of how to make your podcast survey a successful one? No need to panic! Like I said in the intro…we’ve got you covered! We’ll end with some tips for running a survey that yields the best results.
1. Keep it short and simple
While you’re after in-depth intel, if you want to your survey to be a success, you need to keep it short and simple. No listener, no matter how much of a loyal fan they are, are going to enjoy completing a survey that’s over-complicated and a mile long. So short and simple is the way forward.
2. Make it easy
Remember, technology is your friend! Use it to your advantage and pick a survey platform that does the heavy lifting for you. You can use platforms like Google Docs, but there are also sites set up solely for the purpose of creating easy-to-use surveys. For more, check out this post: 11 Free Online Survey Tools Compared
3. Use close-ended questions
Our last tip is to make use of close-ended questions. Open-ended questions, while great for your podcast interviews, leave too much grey area when it comes to surveys. You want to ask questions that yield exactly the answers that you’re after, and so straightforward, close-ended ones are the way to go.
Surveys are an excellent resource to have in your podcasting arsenal, as they are one of the best ways to get direct feedback from your listeners. If executed well, a podcast survey can help you understand your listeners and their needs better. From their answers, you’ll gain great insight into what your listeners love, what they don’t (Scary! But necessary!) or what they want to see more of in the future. This information will give you a clearer picture on how to create a podcast that is engaging and meets listener expectations. You can then better position your podcast to meet those needs, ensuring that you keep building a strong community around your show.
So what are you waiting for, use these tips, and create a survey today!