Chasing honest feedback and following up on Google's pod plans

[00:00:00] Mark: I used to do a little rap song to my cats, which is, um, must be time for the biscuit. Time must be time for the biscuit time. It must be time for the biscuit time. Must be. It must be less most

[00:00:17] I'm Mark Steadman from potent I'm

[00:00:24] Brendan: Brendan from podcasts advocate.

[00:00:26] Mark: Are you going to help me find it? New favor.

[00:00:28] Brendan: I will totally help. That's kind

[00:00:29] Mark: of like my thing. Um, so the, the, the, the, the problem is, uh, I have, I go through, uh, phases where I, I, you know, there's lots of podcasts I listen to and often there'll be something that I'll, um, I'll discover.

[00:00:42] And then that will become my new favorite for a bit. And then either something else will come along. And that will be my new favorite. Like for a long time, it was thrilling adventure hour, and then that finished and then rest abuse, indeed. And then most recently, miss mission does X, uh, but that's on hiatus at the moment.

[00:00:56] And. Come back soon mission. Um, and there was a, one of. Treat listens. One of the ones that I would save, you know, if it would pop up early in my podcast, uh, in my preferred list, I would scoot it on down the list because I wanted to get to it, um, at a certain time, a little bit. I want it to, yeah. I want it to sort of delay the pleasure a little bit.

[00:01:17] And that's now becoming less of a thing because there've been a few episodes that have just not been an issue. Not, not been, it's not fair to say they've not been to par, but it's more than. A lot of things that make you laugh are to do with surprise. And, uh, if they can't surprise you anymore, then you lose some of that stuff.

[00:01:37] And, um, as much as I liked the show, when I think it's great and I'm a patron supporter, cause I liked getting the, the, the, the, the extra bit, um, Uh, Dubai Friday is it's no longer my favorite podcast and I don't have a new favorite. And so that's what I'm looking for now.

[00:01:54] Brendan: Gotcha. Okay. So a couple of questions for you.

[00:01:56] Uh, have you heard about Gimlet? They've got, they've got new shows. In case you hadn't heard. Yeah.

[00:02:03] Mark: I, uh, I started listening to Sandra and I think, I think I'll finish. I'm just not

[00:02:08] Brendan: finish ringing endorsement. You know

[00:02:12] Mark: what, you know what it is. Um, I only downloaded a couple of episodes because it was a Bingy thing, wasn't it?

[00:02:18] Uh, it was all released in one go. And so I, for whatever reason, the way I, I listened to the first episode, I think it's. I mean, I listened to him preview. I wasn't gripped. So I was downloading them one by one, as opposed to just downloading the whole thing and then being in my queue to listen to. So, because they're not in my queue, there's other things that are in my queue.

[00:02:38] And so it's not jumping up the kid

[00:02:40] Brendan: since I, I have binged the whole thing as well as habitat. Um, I, I would love to chat with you though. Uh, wait until. Gone through and finished. So spoiler reasons.

[00:02:54] Mark: So habitat, is that a, another fiction

[00:02:56] Brendan: shot? No, no, that one's, um, it's more like a reality show. It's, uh, a group of group of six, uh, astronauts go into a, uh, biodome in Hawaii for a year without leaving to conduct an experiment for NASA about.

[00:03:14] Uh, people going to Mars. Wow. It was good. I have thoughts. And I, uh, if you, if you, if that interests you at all, uh, I would wait until after. You'd listen to that as well to talk about it. Um, but I'd say overall, it was, it was good. It was, it was a fun binge, uh, that was like seven or eight episodes as well.

[00:03:32] And it was quick. It was quick. Listen. Okay. So I have a question for you. Have you ever listened to the podcast? Uh, conversations with

[00:03:39] Mark: people who hate me? No, but I know of it. That surprised me with

[00:03:42] Brendan: how much I liked it. It, uh, you know, it's a, it's a good puncher. It's a, it's kind of, you know, It's not easy listening per se.

[00:03:51] And they come up pretty rarely. I think that every two weeks, maybe. Um, but it's good. It's really good. Well,

[00:03:57] Mark: uh, this, this is a job for you listener, uh, dear listener. If, uh, if you want to get in touch, then you can tweet me or a meet or Brendan. Um, I am Steadman is my Twitter handle and, uh, the pod playlist is Brendan's and then you can also just use the

[00:04:11] Brendan: hashtag bit rate.

[00:04:12] Hey,

[00:04:12] Mark: that's an even better.

[00:04:15] Brendan: So I just read an article by, um, our previous guests, my employer out about connecting with podcast listeners, and she created a guide for constructive feedback, constructive criticism for podcasts, and I thought it would be an excellent thing to explore. Did you have a chance

[00:04:32] Mark: to read?

[00:04:32] I did. He was, it was very comprehensive. Um, and you know, there's, there's a lot in that. Um, and, uh, really well considered.

[00:04:40] Brendan: Absolutely. I pulled out a couple of highlights. Um, And yeah, I thought we could kind of go over them. Um, one of them was kind of like what, as a, as a podcaster, what goals are you hoping to better achieve by hearing directly from your audience?

[00:04:55] And it's kind of an interesting thought process. I like, are you. I do as a podcast, you're just trying to, um, make a show and put it out there as your own thing, or are you doing it with the golden mind of, um, making somebody that other people will actually want to hear me making, uh, making a product that people want to hear.

[00:05:17] And, um, and then are you at like a second part to that question? Is, are you ready to hear what your audience has to say? Which is. You know, definitely that's such a big one. Yeah. That's heavy. Right? So it kind of a philosophical question there

[00:05:32] Mark: of all the podcasts I've made. I think I've been guilty of just wanting to make the thing and just wanting people to enjoy it to a degree.

[00:05:39] But also I think probably not wanting to hear certain bits of criticism and I think the worst criticism. I would ever expect to have been, um, levied at me as something along the lines of this is not as entertaining as you think it is, or this is not as worthwhile as you think it is because, um, and I think that's changed over the last.

[00:06:06] Yeah. Um, I think, yeah, there's, there's been a huge evolution in the way I've produced shows. Um, I think the, you know, the, the main three now as it is with, with bit rates and leopard and thread. Yeah. I had,

[00:06:20] Brendan: um, similar feelings with podcast playlist and that I, I wanted to create something that was. Yeah. At that top quality, you know, as, as, as good, a quality as I could make it and something to fully articulate my thoughts on, you know, the topic at hand, which is podcasts, and I've found that it took so much work to be able to make it what I wanted to.

[00:06:49] And then even still, it wasn't always quite what I wanted it to be. That. Uh, it's just announced on Twitter that I'm on a permanent hiatus from that show. Um, and I what's interesting is that the feedback I did receive was, which was little, it was usually positive. Um, I don't recall ever receiving negative feedback, but the prospect of it was, was there.

[00:07:15] It wasn't a big worry, but it was definitely something I thought about like, um, Why, why, why are you spending all this time and editing time, you know, like putting together something and, and just, uh, you know, have it not be as, as concise or as, uh, detailed or as, as, um, Important, like you said, as you think it is.

[00:07:37] Mark: Yeah, absolutely. And it's, I think comedians talk about this thing a lot where it's often the, the worst review of your work is yeah, because you want to have some kind of a, of a reaction and obviously ideally you'd like that to be positive, but you also know that not everything you do will be liked by everyone.

[00:07:56] And if it is then you're probably not doing anything that exciting.

[00:07:59] Brendan: Yeah. And actually. With that point, like when, and then you put an episode and you get 500 listens and no feedback. Yeah. It kind of feels like an ad. It kind of feels like you didn't move anybody either direction at all, to see, uh, to, you know, have them actually reach out.

[00:08:17] Even though, you know, there is a call to action at the end. Maybe to read a review maybe to, um, just say hi on Twitter, maybe to, you know, offer us, um, podcast recommendations or anything like that. Um, and that when there's nothing, that's kind of a,

[00:08:32] Mark: kind of a discipline. Yes. And I think the, the other possibly unspoken thing about this, and not, not because it's a secret, but just maybe because I don't know, but that sort of unspoken thing about leaving apple podcasts reviews is that.

[00:08:48] It's actually really not an easy process. No, it's not. It takes awhile and not everyone uses that app to listen to podcasts. And so it is actually really, really tricky and apple haven't made it easy to, um, For other people, you know, to, to, to just have a link that takes you through to a form or whatever.

[00:09:09] Uh, it's also, um,

[00:09:12] Brendan: from what I hear, not as impactful as people say, it's, it's a lot more advantage to you than it is. Um, an actual metric. Uh, like helps you rank higher. And

[00:09:24] Mark: this is the interesting thing, because depending on who you speak to that there, you can get these really contradictory reports on how useful that stuff really is.

[00:09:32] And it's actually, because apple don't tell us it's it's it really is a guessing game as a black

[00:09:37] Brendan: box. Yup. Uh, so another question that I thought was pertinent from that guy. It's actually for the listener and ha you know, since we're both listeners, it would work for us as well. Uh, how will your feedback improve their show thinking about, and she actually gives them some guidance on how to craft your feedback with praise, question Polish and kind of, uh, she said, it's not a compliment sandwich where you put the criticism and tie inside, but actually cut is, um, but.

[00:10:10] Thinking about like, what's, what's good. What needs work and you know, your kind of recommendation on how to, um, maybe approach that change or something like that. And then also to think about what the podcasts are, can actually change. Cause they can't change their voice or their gender, things like that.

[00:10:26] Just sadly a thing that needs to be said.

[00:10:30] Mark: Yes. Well, there, there, there, I've got two things about this. Um, one is a confession, um, in that, uh, actually both a sort of professional, but w w w the first one is that I recently, um, and I, I was very reluctant about it, but it was one of these things that had been bubbling up for ages.

[00:10:45] I sent her. I sort of, I don't want to use the word complaint, but I was, I guess, complaining about a particular, it was a, it was a behavior pattern in a particular podcaster that I was just trying to understand and also figure out and say, if the benefit of the doubt needs given as to why this is happening, then consider that doubt given.

[00:11:06] Um, but if there is no benefit of the doubt, To be given, can you please stop doing that thing please? So he's like, you keep doing this thing. If there's a reason that you're doing it, that I don't understand, then that's fine. Tell me, but can you otherwise, can you stop doing it because it's really irritating and it sounds a bit unprofessional and this person wrote back and said, I know in fact, cause it was a, it was a two, two host show and the first post wrote back and I was horrified to find out that both.

[00:11:35] Read this, um, the first host wrote back and said, uh, that the thing you're describing doesn't happen. And then, then the person that I was complaining about wrote in, uh, wrote me back and said, no, I don't do that. That would be unprofessional. I was like, oh God, I'm so sorry. I didn't, I felt awful because it was like, I, I, you already, wasn't writing an angry email.

[00:11:56] I wasn't writing a snitty email. I wasn't being a well actually guy. Trying to tread as lightly as I could. And I still felt awful when this person wrote back and said, no, don't, don't do that. The other thing is on, on feedback, I think the tide into iTunes reviews as we were there. Difference here. And because frankly, when people are asking for iTunes reviews, they're not asking for feedback, right.

[00:12:23] They're asking for people to tell them that their podcast is great. They want four, five star reviews. Yes. And I think most of the time when people are asking for feedback, they are asking for praise. Oh, absolutely. Um, and they're asking for promotion. And so I think there are probably times when there, when there are, um, general genuine calls for feedback, but I think that probably happens on a more.

[00:12:46] Regular like annual basis as, as part of a review. Um, and I think polls are good for that anonymous surveys and things like that, I think are really good for that. Tell us what you like, tell us what you don't like. Um, tell us what we should do for us for the next year. And I think that kind of approach is really good and really useful because you really get a sense of, of how you can genuinely.

[00:13:09] Um, in aggregate across all of your listeners. Um, and so you're not necessarily just getting that one shouty person. That's like, I hate the F the fact that you always say, ER,

[00:13:18] Brendan: I love to reach out to the podcast stirs that I listened to I on Twitter, but I I'm shouting out into the void at the people who are in my head all day, every day, you know?

[00:13:33] Um, I mean, Uh, as a, as an often a topic on the show, I guess yesterday I reached out to the producers of, uh, today explained, um, and I was like, Hey, yo, Hey Vox. You know, I love what you're doing with today. Explained it's amazing. Uh, please double their staff and make world explained. That

[00:13:51] Mark: is, but that statement in itself is, is a wonderfully US-centric thing, because I love the fact that you say double the staff and then you can cover the entire world.

[00:14:00] I'm shaking my head in my son. It was a cheap shot, but I had to take

[00:14:03] Brendan: it. Uh, well, well taken. Oh my God. I'm horrible.

[00:14:10] Mark: You were reaching out, you were reaching out to Vox to, uh, to, to, to praise.

[00:14:14] Brendan: Yeah. I send out a lot of, uh, I hear back and it's good. And I like, kind of like with your statement before I like, I try to be positive as well.

[00:14:25] I definitely take. No, I had to take people to task. This is, is pretty, that that's harder than I feel like I do. Um, I complained lightly about things like when there's no links in show notes or when there's, um, you know, especially when w when a podcast says there's going to be a link to a survey in the show notes.

[00:14:48] And there's no link to a survey in the show notes and there's practically no show notes at all. I, it it's upsetting like, like they, they're asking they're they have a call to action and they're not following through on their part of the bargain. Uh it's like I fill out almost every survey from a podcast.

[00:15:08] If they have a link in the show notes, I will click on it. If they don't have a link in the show notes, I'm not going to sit and type into Euro. And, you know, a lot of times, like I'm working with my hands all day or I'm driving, I don't even have the ability to like going back later in overcast and just hitting a button, like that's super easy to have that engagement.

[00:15:30] So for me, a lot of it is the, is allowing for that. Um, Ability to, to reach out and share and making it easy for the audience to do that. So having links in the show notes is huge to me. Um, what really. Uh, upsets me is, um, Radiotopia, panoply and Gimlet. I think those are all severely

[00:15:54] Mark: lacking. I might be wrong, but I think a lot of that actually has been, um, many of us have moved forwards in this medium in a way that an archaic talking about apple, but in a way that apple hadn't for a long while.

[00:16:05] And, um, because a lot of the things that we're talking about require HTML in your show notes. Yup. It was only up until last year that apple actually added support for that within the podcast app. Yeah. I

[00:16:18] Brendan: actually, I reached out to, um, Roman Mars at one point and he, he got back to me and he's like, well, you know, our ads are dynamically inserted, so we can't have a specific.

[00:16:28] Link to whatever you heard because that, yeah.

[00:16:34] Mark: Okay. Sorry. If you were dynamically inserting bits of audio, you can dynamically write the metadata around it. It's like

[00:16:41] Brendan: you could add a bit of dynamically insert a text if he could audio silly. It's silly. This is what it is. So speaking of, uh, um, Apples domination of the podcast.

[00:16:56] Spear may not be long for this world. Google has been going through some updates for their search engine, getting podcasts more prominence. Have you looked into that Pacific content article will series of articles about Google's new

[00:17:12] Mark: updates? Uh, so I looked at, uh, certainly one of them and I wasn't sure what.

[00:17:22] Different. Um, and part of this might just be. I dunno, the stars aren't aligning for me to actually see the changes that they're talking about making you do have to have an Android phone. I'm not sure, but that mythical, Google type in the name of a podcast into Google, then you'll get play buttons. I've never seen.

[00:17:38] Yeah. So

[00:17:38] Brendan: yeah, it's rolled out now apparently. And it looks like it's only for Android phones,

[00:17:44] Mark: so at least that's, that's the thing. Okay.

[00:17:46] Brendan: Yeah. I mean, yeah. At least that's the thing. I mean, that's good. And you'll, as you've described many times, Android is like 80% of the smartphone market. So. That's awesome, but like they have Google, so they've been rolling out new tools and new abilities for podcasts to show up in search engines and in Google feed.

[00:18:05] So it shows you, um, like a link to the, uh, the podcast page. It actually has play buttons right. In, in, in the search area so that you can listen to the podcast right there. You can subscribe somehow. I don't know. Uh, I think that is. Is there, it's going to be a companion podcast app for the actual phone. Um, and then there's even like a donate button and, um, um, other things like that, but you can interact more with the podcaster, but like, so they also put out a tool where you can insert your RSS and see what it looks like on the search page.

[00:18:39] When somebody, you know, would find you. Podcasts now that's I want to say I've missed that and I did it. And, uh, it gives you a QR code that you can scan with your Android phone so that you can see what the results look like. Ah, and I'm like,

[00:18:56] Mark: are you

[00:18:58] Brendan: kidding? I have it's. It's a, it's a, it's a weird Brownsey.

[00:19:03] Like I'm on a web browser. You can show me what it looks like. You don't have to make me use a different device to scan it. Oh, so. Google is so weird sometimes.

[00:19:15] Mark: Yeah. Uh, whether there's some weird, deep, deep, deep tides that are into the actual code of the web browser itself, um, it, it, it might be that there's some kind of fix that's happening there, but yeah, no, that's, that's that sucks.

[00:19:28] And I, I, I imagine this is probably only going to be in the U S because, um, Podcast directory is only in the U S um, so if, if I, if I give this a go, I might have to, um, put my VPN on and, um, and see what happens. You think

[00:19:43] Brendan: that, uh, that these updates would move the needle at all in terms of finding more like bringing in more.

[00:19:52] Podcast listener base to actually find podcasts. Do you think, but people are going to search for something and a podcast is just going to show up because of the keyword results and then be like, oh, a podcast, I guess I should try this out

[00:20:04] Mark: possibly. And it might, it might reduce the friction, um, for people who maybe were looking for a show, uh, and now they know they can just type in the name of a show and actually hear it straight away that, that kind of, that kind of thing might be, um, might be useful.

[00:20:18] I think, um, It's possibly a little too little too late, because I think Android people are already on either podcast, addict or pocket casts, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't have a fair shot and, and I'd like to see what they do. Um, yeah, I think it's fine that they're going to prioritize Android. Um, but like you, I would like to be able to test this out and see what this looks like.

[00:20:46] Um, and if there's ways that I can. Uh, you know, as someone running a podcast hosting company, obviously I want everyone to be able to, um, easily get their stuff listed. And in theory, everything should be in place for that to happen or the right tags should be there.

[00:21:02] Brendan: So the article linked in the show notes by Pacific content on medium is the first of a five part series.

[00:21:09] And the. I think it's on the, on the Wednesday edition. The third edition has some information about, um, Google's a podcast recommendation engine. Like they're going to like analyze in the way that they analyze your YouTube viewing habits. They're going to analyze what podcasts you listened to and feed up, uh, recommendations.

[00:21:36] I

[00:21:36] Mark: still want, um, the one-stop. Directory slash review slash discovery, commenting thing that cause you know, pod chaser I think is, is, uh, And interestingly we have right now. Yeah, absolutely. And what I want to see as I want to see that service tied into all the apps. I want to see some kind of agreed upon the mechanism or API that just ties all of that in so that it can all be done from your favorite podcast app.

[00:22:09] Because that kind of thing, being able to say, if you like the show hit this star or hit five stars and you automatically know that that means. Something, I want that so bad. And again, it, it goes back to a conversation we had, I think, in, in, in platform that it really needs everyone to come to the table and, and talk together.

[00:22:29] And it's, it means a lot of work for quite a few people. Uh, The only benefit is to listeners. It doesn't really benefit anyone else. And that's a great reason to do something, but not a commercially great reason to do something that's different.

[00:22:47] What's your podcasting week look

[00:22:48] Brendan: like head? Um, I have a new, uh, nobody asked for this coming out today. Nice. Yeah. Um, those are coming out every two weeks for the next few a month or so I did want to ask you if you wanted to talk about the podium

[00:23:02] Mark: updates at all the podium launched a sort of 2.0 last week and congratulations.

[00:23:08] Thank you. Um, and then a sort of a 2.1 came out on Monday. Uh, and then going forward so exciting, I'm going to hopefully be writing. I'm going to try and force myself to write a weekly showcase of a feature that you might not know existed. And so the first one of that, uh, this week might be the, uh, the radio public integration that we have and letting people know that that's the thing that, that exists.

[00:23:29] So. Stay tuned. All the links are in the show notes and I edit this, so they will be, and then Brendan comes into the show notes as well. So between the two of us, we'll have this licked