How to Aircheck Your Podcast Episodes

constructive criticism is the way to “grow”!

How good is your podcast? You may have downloads and you may have advertisers, but how good is your show, really? It’s a question every podcaster should ask themselves. You could ask your mom or perhaps your best friend, but are you really going to get a straight answer? Would they even know what to look for? The process of doing an honest review of your show is called an aircheck, it’s a radio and television term. Today you’ll learn the key components of what makes a good podcast aircheck, so you can do it yourself. If you want a podcast professional to aircheck your show, we can help with that too.

Here’s what we’re talking about today…

  • Who should review your podcast?
  • How often should you aircheck your podcast episodes?
  • How to aircheck your overall podcast
  • How to aircheck your individual episodes
  • Hiring a pro to aircheck your podcast

FOR A LIMITED TIME, I’ll be available to review one of your podcast episodes. This is a paid service and includes a written review as well as a one-hour live Zoom session with me to review the results and answer your questions! Book your aircheck now. Space is limited!

what questions should you ask when reviewing your podcast?

What areas should you be critiquing when you do an aircheck for your podcast? This guide breaks down some of the main topics to consider. Feel free to add your own!

Sunny Gault | Podcast Coach and Mentor | Independent Podcast Network

Episode Transcript

How good is your podcast? You may have downloads, you may even have advertisers. But how good is your show? Really? It’s a question every podcaster should ask themselves. You could ask your mom or perhaps your best friend, but are you really going to get a straight answer? And would they even know what to look for? The process of doing an honest review of your show is called an air check. It’s a radio and television term. Today, you’ll learn the key components of what makes for a good podcast air check. So you can do it yourself. And if you want to hire a professional to air check your show. We can help with that too. Take it away, Mr. radio man. Podcast Your Business.

Hello, and welcome to Podcast Your Business. My name is Sunny Gault. I’m a podcast coach and mentor and I have been a podcaster for the last 17 years. I’m also the founder and CEO of a company called Independent Podcast Network, please go to our website and check us out we’ve got a ton of free content over there for you. It’s at Today, I am here to help you create awesome podcasts for your business. And we do this by mastering the five P’s of podcasting. Alright, so the five P’s of podcasting, that’s something that I created to help people really figure out how to master this whole podcasting thing. What are the five areas that you really need to know something about in order to have a successful show, and I broke this down into five P’s, we’ve got prep, plan, produce, promote, and profit. So prep is all about determining if you should even start a podcast, right is that really a good thing for you plan is the look and feel for your podcast or your overall show format. Producing or produce is about creating content for your show. So that’s the recording and editing remote is telling everyone about it, right? Because you can have the most amazing podcast in the world. But if no one knows about it, it’s kind of like it doesn’t exist. So you need to know how to promote it. And then profit. How do you make money with this? And if you are doing a podcast specifically for your business? How is this helping your business in general? So Mr. radio man, which one of these peas are we talking about today?

Produce. So whenever you review your show for both content, and overall quality, this is all information that is going to help you produce a better show. So that’s why this falls into the produce p if you will, right. So in order to do this effectively, you have to put aside your ego, okay. And this is really important, because nobody is perfect, every single podcast out there could be improved in some capacity. And then you also have to realize that a lot of this is subjective. I mean, there are still some standards that separate great podcasts from podcasts that need a little bit of help. But there’s still some subjectivity in all of this right, and you got to go with your gut. That’s what I’ve learned. But it’s still helpful to get what I like to call constructive criticism. So if you want to continually grow your podcast, and that’s not just your podcast numbers, but just grow as a podcaster, and become a better podcaster over time, then you need to review your content, you can do it by yourself. But I also encourage you to get a podcast professional to help you aircheck your show, as well. Maybe it’s not always a professional, but at least at some point in the history of your podcast, you should have a professional look at it, and give you some feedback. Okay, so what exactly are we going to talk about today? Well, first, we should talk about who should review your podcast, and I gave some clues away in the intro and up until this point, but it’s not just you, right? It’s important that you do it, but I think other people should do it as well. And we’ll talk more about that. Next, how often should you air check your podcast episodes? Is it a one and done? Do you need to do this more frequently? What do you think? And then we’re gonna get into the nitty gritty. First of all, how do you err check your overall podcast. So that’s kind of the 30,000 foot view of your podcast in general. And then you get a little more granular and we can focus in on air checking individual episodes. So we’ll go over some of the things that I have done for other podcasters questions that I asked other podcasters because I’ve done a bunch of air checks in the past to help people and, you know, make their podcast the best it can possibly be. And then at the end, we’ll talk a little bit about out hiring a pro to air check your podcast episodes. Okay, we’re gonna get started on all that right after this quick break.

You’ve probably heard the phrase, no one got better through praise only. And that is so true. We all need constructive criticism to grow and be better in life. And of course, this doesn’t just apply to podcasts. This is anything that you encounter in anything that you want to be better at. But when it comes to podcasting, that’s why airchecks are so important. Now, this is not about making you feel bad, and pointing out all of the things you know, that you could have done better. And you know, it’s not like shame on you. Okay, that’s not what we’re trying to do. We’re not trying to just point out all the mistakes, this is also an opportunity to reflect on the things you did well, and it’s about celebrating your wins, as well as knowing what areas need to be improved. So again, you can have the best podcast possible. So let’s have a positive outlook. When we’re talking about error checking your episodes. First, let’s talk about who should review or error check your podcast. Okay. Now, like I said, in the show intro, you could have your mom do it, you can have your best friend do it. And I have fallen into that trap before. But it is probably not the best idea. Now I’m not saying you can’t share because of course, you’re going to be proud of whatever you put out, okay, but don’t rely on that to be your most constructive feedback. What you really need to do first of all, I recommend that you err, check your episodes, or perhaps someone else from your team, someone that really understands the show, I think that should be done on a fairly regular basis. We’ll talk about that in a second. But I also think you need to get your audience involved. So it could be someone that’s actually listening to your show, or if your show hasn’t launched yet, or you don’t feel comfortable asking your audience for some feedback, then find someone that mimics your demographic. So someone in your demographic, maybe it’s not a listener. But in the past, on the show, we’ve talked about the importance of a podcast avatar, which is really just your ideal audience, right for your podcast. So when you’re creating your show, you create your avatar, and that’s who you pretend that you’re talking to in your podcast episodes. So find someone in that demographic. And then finally, I as I’ve already said, I think you need to have a podcast professional review your podcast, because they are definitely going to point out things that you haven’t thought of. Everybody’s got a different perspective, but they have the additional perspective of someone that’s been in the industry for a while that’s probably listened to a ton of podcasts, and also knows the standards and has an ear for that type of thing.

Okay. How often should your podcast or your episodes be air checked? Well, first of all, before you launch your podcast, so I know some of you are going oh, crap, I already watched my show, what do I do now? Well, now is a great time to reach out to a podcast professional and have them air check your show. No, but seriously, before you launch, you really should have other people listen to the show and give you some feedback. That’s really important. Next, when you make a big change in your podcast. So for example, in some of my parenting podcast, which I’ve talked about on the show before, we are in the process of switching up hosts. So it’s the type of show that it’s really about the content, it’s not so much about the host for the show. And I think it’s really important that the hosts of the show are in that stage of life. So in this case, we’re talking about a Pregnancy show. So the hosts are currently pregnant, okay. And they’ll probably stay with the show a little bit longer than just when they’re pregnant. But we’re making a big change. And so this will be a great time, right after you know, their new episodes come out for me to do an air check to see what people think. So that’s an example of a big change. And then if you don’t necessarily have a lot of big stuff happening with your show, I still think you need to do your own self checks, write your own self reviews. And I would do that at least every six months, you know, just to make sure everything is flowing. Well, you know, and everything sounds good.

Okay. All right. So let’s get into some of the nitty gritty here. All right, and when we talk about air checking our content, the first I like to look at this first from the 30,000 foot view. All right, and that includes your whole podcast, so not just one episode, but looking at it as a whole. Now, you don’t have to do this all the time. It’s really more importantly do this probably in the beginning, when you first launch your show, but I think it’s really some or to look at your overall the name for your podcast or the title for your podcast. Look at your podcast description, what categories, are you putting your show, and maybe you put it in a category doesn’t quite fit anymore because they are changing categories every now and again, they’ll come out with new podcasts categories. So I think it’s a good opportunity to go back and check that out. Look at your podcast artwork, maybe you’ve learned a lot since first, launching your show. And we’ve talked about podcast artwork on the show before we’ve done whole episodes on what to look for. So go back, listen to that content, and see if you need to make any changes. Also look at where your podcast is being distributed to are you on the top three players, we’ve done episodes on that before as well. Make sure you’re there. You can look at your your stats, your demographics, you know, is this your actual avatar, you have an avatar in the beginning that you hope will listen to your show, right? And that’s who you’re thinking about when you’re doing your episodes. But is that actually your audience? And do you maybe need to change some things to make sure your content is reflective of the actual demographics for your show? Are you connecting with your audience, I think it’s a great idea to get your audience involved in as many places as possible, whether that’s through social media or then participating in your show, it really depends on your overall show format. And then finally, are you accomplishing your podcast goals, always go back to that. So this is kind of like an overall audit of your podcast in general, right. But I think it’s important to do at least once for your show.

Now let’s dive in a little bit further and talk about actual episodes. So first, let’s talk about the content, which is the bulk of what we’re going to talk about today. Again, kind of like we were just talking about looking at your overall podcast name or title, look at the title of your episode. It is so important. This is one of three places where key words really count in podcasting. Okay, and I have reviewed a bunch of podcasts where the titles are just not reflective of the content. So if someone is trying to find your podcast, and you don’t have a good title, well, it really doesn’t matter what you’re putting in the description, right. So make sure the titles really reflect what your show is about. Take a look at the description and the show notes for your episode. First of all, does it make sense? Did you misspell anything? But did you also include everything you promised? Sometimes when I’m recording a podcast episode, I’ll say like the link to something like Oh, yeah, I’ll include that in the show notes. And then I forget, right. So make sure everything is included that you promised would be in the description or your show notes. If you have artwork for your episode, sometimes people change up the artwork. So how is that going? Does that? Does that still kind of look like your main podcast artwork? Should you change it up a bit? Is that a little too? Too busy? You know, everything that we were talking about with your main artwork kind of applies to the artwork for your individual episodes. So take a look at that again. I also like to examine show intros. Some of you may have an official show intro maybe you just have a little bit of music that plays. But one of the things that I’ve learned in the past is if you’re going to have a pre produced intro, sometimes it’s a good idea to mix that up a bit, especially if you don’t have any content before then sometimes people will have a little bit of content and then their show intro and then they’ll get into the actual episode. But if that’s not the case, and people are just hearing the same thing over and over No, right. You know what I mean? It may be time to change up your show intro. So make sure that that’s interesting. Keep it lively for people.

Now related to the content, would people new to your show, understand what’s going on in the beginning? So many times I listen to new podcasts and I am totally lost because the host is expecting that the same audience is listening week after week. And that is never going to be the case. You will have some diehards hopefully, okay, you’ve got your core audience. But if your show is growing, there’s always going to be new people listening to your show. So make sure you’re welcoming to the new people. They know who you are, what the show is about what the episode is about, and that they’re not completely lost. And please watch the inside jokes. If you start to say an inside joke, then you better explain it for the audience. Because again, you want to include them. You want them to feel like they’re part of your show. Alright, did you tell people what to expect in the episode and is the topic clear? Are you actually delivering on whatever you’ve titled your episode? And then as you get into the content a little bit more, how would you rate the host or co host? Now that may be you? That may be you and somebody else right how Is the banter between you guys? Did it get awkward? Any moment? Is it fun to listen to? What were the strengths of your guests? Did you have additional guests on the show? Did you have an expert or somebody else that you brought on? And in the line of questioning or the banter with them? How did that go? Was all that information communicated? Clearly? At the end of the episode? What were the main takeaways? Can you define what the key points were, that people should have gotten from the episode? What was your call to action at the end? Oh, my goodness, this is so important. Okay. So let’s talk about a call to action for a second, this is something you want your podcast audience to do. Nine times out of 10, it’s going to be go to my website, here’s the link, keep it simple. Please do not give your audience a laundry list of what they need to do. Follow me here, do this, subscribe to my newsletter, like blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It’s just way too much. So just pick one thing, and roll with that that should be your main call to action. And usually, it’s going to be your website. Did you have commercial spots? I think it’s a good opportunity to review those commercial spots. Did you have too many, you know, did it feel like the whole thing was one big infomercial, were the commercial spots too long, where they put in places where it really interrupted the flow of the show.

And then there are some more general questions that just kind of apply to all of the content. So I like to ask, is the episode educational and or entertaining? Because if it’s educational, and also needs to be entertaining, it always needs to be entertaining. Okay. But there are some podcasts that are just just entertainment. And there are some where there is education merged with entertainment. And so you need to make sure that you’re doing that and you’re doing it well. Were there any cringe moments, you know what I’m talking about, right? When you’re listening and are like, Oh, why did I do that? Or that was such a stupid question. Or, you know, why did I clear my throat? So many times are? No, all the filler words and stuff that we use, right? So write down any of those kind of cringe moments, or you know that you just kind of shake your head, you’re like, oh my gosh, why didn’t I remove that from the show? And then this kind of goes along with that. But were there too many pauses or filler words, we all have our filler words, the solos, the arms, the Oz, all of that stuff? You know, even if they were in the original, you know, why weren’t they taken out? If there was too many in the final edit? How did this episode help your audience? Avatar? Again, going back to the avatar? How does how does your audience benefit from this episode? Can you really pick out those points? And what lessons in general did you learn from doing this critique? Okay, what are some of the things that you really think need to be changed? What are some things that maybe are things to just consider, maybe don’t make a decision on it right away, but you need to kind of reflect on all of this.

Now, let’s talk just a little bit about production, because some of this is really obvious, but you got to have good mic quality guys, you gotta gotta gotta. And if you are the host of a podcast, you have to have an external microphone, maybe it is time to up your game, maybe doing this quick little review. Maybe this is kind of a little nudge that you needed, because your mic didn’t sound as good as your guests. That’s a bad sign. By the way, make sure your mic is better than your guests. So were there any popping noises? You know, I know that I have a tendency to get too close to the microphone. So I have to check myself to get a little bit further back. So I don’t get like the popup noises, right? How was the editing? Was there too much editing? Did you edit out every single arm? And also you sounded a little bit like Max Headroom or like that new, mid mid? Or was it just enough? Were there too many long pauses was the editing abrupt do you need to leave a little bit more space so it flows like a natural conversation. And then as you’re doing all of this, I want to encourage you to stop listening to your podcast at two different places and give. Give yourself an honest review. Well, there’s three places total. Okay? Two are within your show once after your show. So, rate your podcast at the one minute mark. So listen to your show. And then at one minute, I want you to stop and grade your podcast up until that point, if you weren’t familiar with your show, would you continue listening? Or was it just did it wouldn’t just not make sense because here’s the thing, you are not going to have a lot of time to make a first impression. You’re probably gonna have less than a minute but I’m just being a little gracious here. Few people are gonna listen longer than a minute if they don’t like what they hear in the first minute. So stop at the one minute mark and then I want you to stop again at the 10 minute mark, just to make sure that you are still on track. Have you still kept people’s attention? And just be honest. All right. And then at the end, I want you to do an overall rating. So how would you rate your podcast in its entirety, considering everything that we just talked about? Now, guys, I want you to keep in mind, this is just a review. Okay, whether you’re doing it, and audience members doing it, a pro is doing it for you. But no, you are always in charge of your podcast, it really doesn’t matter when anyone else says, you can either choose to make the changes, or choose to leave your podcast as is, I want you to just look at this as information, take it or leave it.

If you are planning to do airchecks of your podcast, yay, congratulations! I do have a handout that you should download. And it just guide you through the whole process. Of course, you can add more questions, every show is a little bit different. But this should help get you going and asking some of the right questions. Again, you can do your own aircheck, your team could do your own air check, you can give it to your mom and your best friend, that’s okay too. But just know, following your audience demographic is going to be better because those are the people that are going to actually listen to your show. I also recommend that you have a podcast professional review your show at least once like I said, I have done these airchecks a bunch in the past with people that are on our network. But now I’m opening this up. And for a limited time. And I’m not sure how limited so get this while it’s hot. I am offering airchecks for podcasts. Okay, so this is a paid service. But there’s more information. If you’re interested in having me review your podcast gives you some great feedback. That will include a document that breaks things down. So I’ll do that in advance. It also includes a one hour session through zoom with me to go over everything and to answer any questions you may have. If that’s of interest, look in the description for this episode, and schedule a time with me. I would also encourage you guys to check out our website Independent Podcast Network ( Again, a lot of free resources, including more podcast episodes like this one. We have weekly blog posts that go out videos, a lot of free handouts. We even have free courses. So check us out until next week, remember, podcasts are awesome!

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