As podcasters, we should be setting the examples of being great listeners and encouraging our audiences to be the same. I'll approach the following tips from the perspective that you are a listener.
But don't turn off your podcasters' ears! This can also be a list of things you can ask your audience to do, or be regular reminders in your episodes.
1. Subscribe and listen to every episode
This is the “duh” one of the bunch, but it's very important. You may listen to a podcast from the website, on a Facebook page, or through Stitcher. But subscribing is easy, usually free, and ensures that you'll get every episode. When possible, listen to every episode, too!
2. Send prompt feedback
Podcasters love hearing from you, their listener. So send them feedback! Even a simple, “Thanks, I really appreciate your podcast because …,” goes a long way and is a huge encouragement.
It's especially important to send prompt feedback while the topic is still fresh, or even before it's addressed. If you listen to a TV-show podcast, send feedback about the latest TV episode so the podcasters can include it when they focus on that TV episode.
3. Rate and review
Even if you already emailed a podcaster directly to tell them how much you like their show, also rate and review them in their popular directories—the most popular being iTunes. This helps others see what you think of the podcast and perhaps why they should listen.
Ratings and reviews also help the podcasts you love to be featured in various places. An amazing podcast with one five-star rating and two comments won't get as much attention as a terrible podcast with 200 ratings and reviews.
4. Follow in social media
Most podcasters have at least a Twitter account (if not multiple accounts), but many also have Facebook and Google+ pages. Follow all of these and look for ways to interact with the hosts and other fans through social media.
5. Press their buttons
I'm talking about the good buttons! If your favorite podcasts have Tweet, +1, Like, StumbleUpon, and any other buttons, press all of them! This helps promote the show and can even help their search-engine ranking.
6. Tell others
Beyond the “automatic” ways of telling others about the podcasts you like, be intentional! If your friends like a TV show, tell them about the podcast you're listening to about it. Even help them understand what a podcast is (“a radio show on the Internet” often works).
7. Have patience
There will always be things that annoy you in a podcast, but be patient as the podcasters may still be finding their groove. Most podcasts are nothing like their first episodes. So before you leave a negative rating or review somewhere, wait for the podcast to mature a bit.
8. Follow their advice
When podcasters are sharing information that can help you, try it and share the results with them! We podcasters love to hear that our words aren't just going in one ear and out the other.
9. Treat them as people
Please remember that no matter how you feel about a podcast, there are real people with real feelings on the other side of the mic. They can be hurt, too. So if you're even thinking about sending an anonymous rant against them, consider being honorable and honest by sharing your identity and allowing a discussion.
Most people do like constructive criticism. So if you want to point out their flaws, do so with a heart to help and suggestions for how they can improve.
10. Join live shows
A lot of podcasters host live shows. This can be a great opportunity for you to see behind the scenes, as well as get to know the hosts and other fans through a chatroom. It's a lot of fun and often presents some great bloopers.
11. Donate if you can
Times are tough, and that's probably just as true for the podcasters you listen to. It costs money to podcast (hosting, equipment, time, resources, etc.). Even something small like $5 or $10 can be a huge encouragement and really help a podcaster.
12. Use their affiliate links
Many podcasters signup with affiliate programs. Use these as often as you can (some links expire after a while). Amazon.com is a perfect one because it's a great place for you to shop and save money, and it's an opportunity for podcasters to earn 4%–8% of your purchase. You're giving them money without it costing you anything extra.
13. Don't just leave
Before you hit the “unsubscribe” button, send a polite email to the podcasters to let them know why. Maybe it's something they can improve, maybe it's something they never know people didn't like, or maybe it's in response to something new they're trying.
What other ways can we be great podcast listeners? Feel free to share this podcast or blog post with your own listeners.
Update on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)
Ron share an inforgraphic about SOPA and the death of the Internet that he and some colleagues made.
Already, DNS blocking has been scrapped from SOPA by its author. As of today, January 16, there are rumors that SOPA is being killed in the House of Representatives.
The Senate's own bill, the Protect-IP Act (PIPA) still includes the hated DNS blocking and most of the same things as SOPA. PIPA hasn't been shot down yet.
Personal update on my freelancing business
After the end of the podcast, I share a short personal update about my freelance web design business. This is both for public thanks and accountability, very little to boast about. Listen at the end only if you're interested.
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This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.