If you’re anything like me, your podcast is your baby – it’s a part of you. You want to protect it, watch it grow, and see it do great things.
This is why negative feedback or criticism for your podcast hurts. It can be outright painful. And as the host of your podcast, it can be hard not to take negative feedback personally.
A Different Approach To Negative Feedback
What I’ve learned over my years of podcasting is that receiving negative feedback is a sign that your podcast is doing what you want it to do – reaching people. And it's affecting people, maybe not always in the positive way you hope for, but at least in a way that somebody felt strongly enough to say something.
Here’s the truth of the matter: The only way to avoid negative feedback about your podcast is to never release it. So if you're not getting negative feedback on your podcast, it means you’re playing small or your podcast isn’t reaching many people. And if you are getting negative feedback about your podcast, congratulations on being in the game!
You don't want to have a podcast that's only listened to by loyal fans or family members. That's not a way to grow your audience or make real impact with your message, even if it would lead to rave reviews that make you feel like everyone loves your podcast.
Here’s a quote I saw in the review section of an online retailer:
Shame on her…she is a racialist if not an out[right] racist and is obviously more interested in the color of her skin than I am. I don’t need that in my life.
The reviewer was talking about Oprah.
There will always be a percentage of the population who won’t like what you do. When you cross the threshold from everyone loving your work to starting to collect negative feedback, you can bet that you’re now making a broader impact with your podcast (which is what you want). It means that you’re starting to “win” (even though it might not feel that way) because you’re reaching more people with your message.
Shedding your cozy comfort zone and putting yourself out there for everyone to see (and pick on) isn’t a walk in the park, but it’s part of building a successful podcast. And you can definitely make this process less painful by keeping these three things in mind:
#1: It’s okay to polarize people.
Even if you’re the type of person who wants everyone to like you, your podcast shouldn’t inherently be designed to appeal to everyone.
When you try to get everyone to like your podcast, nobody will notice it because your podcast will blend in with hundreds of thousands of others. It becomes a quiet wallflower in a noisy room – nobody will know it's there.
It’s okay (and effective) to alienate people who aren’t your ideal listeners. It's completely normal for some people to like your podcast and some to dislike it. And the more clear-cut that distinction becomes, the more loyal listeners you'll develop and the more naysayers will pop out of the woodwork.
But don’t worry about the naysayers. As long as you’re catering to your loyal listeners, your podcast will skyrocket.
#2: Separate insults from true feedback.
Make sure that you distinguish insults from negative feedback. Feedback creates improvement and insults create wounds.
Filter through the negative feedback you receive and use it to enhance your podcast by honing in on listener needs. Don’t take this feedback personally or react emotionally. Negative feedback can be the best thing that ever happens to your podcast if you use it to progress in a positive direction.
As for the insults, let them slide. Don’t feed the trolls and don’t let their criticism stall your podcast's upward trajectory.
#3: Get the people who like you to LOVE you.
Never try to turn the people who hate your podcast into people who like your podcast. Instead, work on getting the people who like your podcast to LOVE your podcast.
Focus your energy on those who already like what you do. How can you provide more value to these people? How can you deliver more of exactly what they want? How can you turn them from regular listeners into loyal, die-hard fans?
Ignore everything else.
Not everybody is going to like your podcast because your podcast isn't for everybody. Embrace this and focus on the people who get what you do.